2016 State Advocacy Goals
What do we want? ECEAP for more children.
This year we’re asking for $10 million to expand ECEAP. The legislature has committed to serving all eligible children in ECEAP by 2020-21, and this fall there is NO expansion scheduled.
Right now there are more than 2600 children on the ECEAP waitlist, and 640 of those are in the very high risk category – families facing extreme poverty, homelessness, foster care, and other challenges. ECEAP is proven to work to close the gap for these high risk kids. According to the independent 2014 ECEAP outcomes study, ECEAP had twice the impact of the average state pre-k program nationwide, and the impacts lasted. The impact of ECEAP on kids’ test scores was comparable to the very top pre-k programs.
What will $10 million buy?
$10 million dollars will give the Department of Early Learning the flexibility to reach 640 new children in full schoolday and full-day/full year programs, and enable programs to convert part-day ECEAP classrooms to longer days to meet community needs. We need an ECEAP expansion that reaches children and families in the ways they need – with more full-day school-year and extended day full year services, funded at a level that makes it possible for programs to serve children and families effectively.
We have a choice.
We know that children who start kindergarten behind stay behind. Our programs have existing capacity to serve those children – the only thing lacking is funding for new spaces for the kids who need it. We can choose to leave hundreds of children behind, or we can invest in our future.
Families also need Quality Child Care
Working families need to know that their child care providers can maintain a high level of care for children. Child care is chronically underfunded, with low wages and high turnover. This year the legislature will vote on a new contract for Family Child Care with a large increase in reimbursement for children using the Working Connections Child Care Subsidy, and a similar increase for child care centers is being proposed, including higher rates for higher quality programs. This includes ECEAP/HS/EHS programs running all day, and this increase will make expansion more possible for many. We strongly support this additional funding to support quality child care and extended day Head Start, Early Head Start and ECEAP programs.