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For Immediate Release:
February 7, 2005
Budget Proposal Heightens Insecurity for Children's Futures
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, the Administration proposed a budget that fails to meet the needs of millions of children and working families for child care, Head Start and other education and family supports. While fiscal responsibility is critical, investing in our nation's children and families is cost-effective and a wise investment for our nation. Although the fiscal year 2006 request includes some increases in education funding, it significantly limits resources for school readiness and development of young children.
"For too many young children, this budget proposal shuts the door on opportunities for safe, high-quality child care and other early learning programs," said Mark Ginsberg, Ph.D., Executive Director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). "Fiscal responsibility does not need to be achieved by reducing support for children's early learning and well-being. Literally hundreds of thousands of children are waiting for child care assistance, and programs cannot raise quality without additional resources; many of our country's poorest children do not have access to Early Head Start and Head Start for their comprehensive school readiness, and many young children with special needs aren't receiving crucial intervention services. This is the wrong direction for our children and for our nation."
Under the budget proposed today:
- Head Start, the nation's preschool program for the poorest children, would receive only a $45 million increase, which is proposed for only 9 states, leaving the rest of children in Early Head Start and Head Start without even an inflation increase.
- The Child Care & Development Block Grant, which provides child care assistance to low income working families, and hasn't seen an increase in three years, would be frozen. According to the Administration's budget tables, this would mean that 300,000 fewer children would have child care assistance by fiscal year 2009, on top of the 200,000 who lost assistance over fiscal years 2003 and 2004.
- Special education funds that help infants, toddlers and preschoolers with disabilities receive early intervention services to help with their development and school readiness would also be frozen, preventing more young children from getting early help with their special needs.
NAEYC is urging lawmakers instead to:
- Significantly increase child care funding to increase assistance for the number of children with working families and to improve the quality of child care;
- Increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start to improve the program, and expand participation; and
- Increase funding for early childhood special education programs so these children have interventions early in life when they can be most effective.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has nearly 90,000 members worldwide. The association is the largest and most influential advocate for early care and education in the
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Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.