Pennsylvania Early Care & Education Organizations Optimistic About Restored Funding Commitment

Governor Wolf set investing in the children of Pennsylvania as a top priority in his 2017- 2018 budget address on Tuesday.  During his speech to the Legislature he declared, “There should be no greater priority for government than caring for and educating our children.”  

Early care and education organizations across the state including the: Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children (DVAEYC); Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC), and Pittsburgh Association For the Education of Young Children (PAEYC) applauded and celebrated his commitment.  As principal partners in the Pre-k for PA coalition organization leaders lauded the Governor’s call for investment in Pre-k on Tuesday, and today issued the following statement regarding his bold commitment as it relates to all children, throughout early childhood. 

Organization leaders encouraged the Governor and Legislature to work together to support the following proposed increases in early care and education: 

  • $9 MIL for evidence-based home visiting;
  • $19 MIL for early intervention;
  • $35 MIL for child care;
  • $65 MIL for Pre-K Counts; and
  • $10 MIL for Head Start.

PAEYC’s Executive Director Cara Ciminillo encouraged local constituents to contact their representatives in support of these investments.

“On behalf of DVAEYC, PennAEYC, PAEYC, and our members, we thank Governor Wolf for proposing an increase in early learning dollars,” said Ciminillo. “We encourage our state legislature to work with early learning providers and the communities we serve to understand the full scope of needs along the early childhood continuum. We will team up to fully engage lawmakers as we work together to do what’s best for kids.”

PAEYC Public Policy Director Lissa Geiger Shulman said these increases are an essential investment for families and young children statewide. 

“The governor’s proposed budget would allow an expansion of many services that benefit at-risk children and families. Increases in evidence-based home visiting programs will help pregnant mothers and their children to learn about healthy growth and development, parenting skills and early learning; increases in early intervention will assist children with developmental delays and disabilities in receiving support and services during their first years; and an additional 8,400 children will gain access to high quality Pre-K programs.”

While PAEYC and its colleagues are pleased about these proposed funding increases, Shulman said the advocates will continue conversations with state policymakers about the best use of these dollars.

“We are excited that child care services have been prioritized in the Governor’s budget proposal and look forward to continued conversations about how to best invest in high quality services throughout the state. Specifically, because child care rates have not been increased in 10 years, addressing subsidy rates that do not cover the cost of high quality services must be a priority moving forward.” 

DVAEYC is dedicated to ensuring educational opportunity for every child in our community. To accomplish this, DVAEYC trains early childhood professionals in best practice skills and career development. DVAEYC coaches early childhood education programs to meet higher standards of PA Keystone STARS and national accreditation. And DVAEYC engages policymakers to invest in high quality early childhood education throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania.

PennAEYC exists for the purpose of leading and consolidating the efforts of individuals and groups working to achieve healthy development and access to high quality early care and education for all young children. PennAEYC's vision is that every child in Pennsylvania has the equal opportunity to be a successful, responsible, and productive member of society as a result of their early childhood experiences. 

PAEYC works to support high quality care and education for young children from birth until age nine across 10 counties in southwestern Pennsylvania. PAEYC provides professional development, community resources and advocacy for the needs and rights of children, their families and the individuals who work with them.