Early Care and Education Programs in the President’s FY 2013 Budget Proposal
The President’s budget proposal for FY 2013 offers some promising news for children and low-income women who benefit from early childhood programs. The President proposes to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) by $825 million and to provide small increases for several other early childhood programs as well. These increases are welcome, particularly given the cuts in funding for discretionary programs required by the Budget Control Act enacted in August. Still, with many families struggling to make ends meet and many states making cutbacks in their child care and prekindergarten funding, further investments in early childhood programs will be essential to help children and families succeed.
Under the President’s budget proposal:
- The Child Care and Development Block Grant would receive an $825 million increase. This includes an increase in the mandatory portion of funding (which is set through a process separate from the annual appropriations process) from $2.917 billion in FY 2012 to $3.417 billion in FY 2013, and an increase in the discretionary portion of funding from $2.278 billion in FY 2012 to $2.603 billion in FY 2013. The increased funding level would allow a total of 1.5 million children to receive child care assistance. Out of the discretionary funding increase, $300 million would be targeted for a new initiative to support child care quality infrastructure, rating systems to help parents identify high-quality child care, and teacher quality improvement. A portion of these new quality funds would be distributed on a formula basis and a portion would be distributed on a competitive basis to states.
- Head Start would be increased by $85 million, to $8.054 billion. This funding level would allow a total of 962,000 young children, including approximately 114,000 infants and toddlers in Early Head Start, to continue to receive comprehensive early education services. The increase would include $45 million for cost of living adjustments for existing programs and $40 million over two years to implement the re-competition process, which requires grantees that are not meeting quality measures to compete to continue receiving funding, and minimize disruptions for children during this process.
- Race to the Top, competitive grants for education reform, would receive $850 million in funding. A portion of this Race to the Top funding would be used for Early Learning Challenge Grants for systemic improvements in early care and education programs.
- The Grants for Infants and Families program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families, would receive an increase of $20 million, to $462.7 million.
- The Preschool Grants program under IDEA, which provides formula grants to states to support early education for children with disabilities ages three through five, would be level-funded at $372.6 million.
- 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which supports school-age programs, would be level-funded at $1.152 billion. In addition to supporting before- and after-school enrichment programs, the funds could be used to extend the regular school day.
- Promise Neighborhoods, which provides competitive grants to help low-income neighborhoods develop and implement comprehensive projects aimed at improving education and life outcomes for children and youth, would increase by $40.1 million over the FY 2012 level, to $100 million.
- Title I Grants to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would receive $14.516 billion in funding in FY 2013, the same as in FY 2012. Local districts can use Title I funding to support early education programs for children birth to age five.
- The Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, which supports campus-based child care for low-income parents in postsecondary education, is level-funded at $16 million.
- The Social Services Block Grant, which supports a range of social services including child care, would receive $1.8 billion in funding in FY 2013, the same as in FY 2012.
- Military Child Care and Youth Programs funding would increase from $1.2 billion in FY 2012 to $1.3 billion in FY 2013. This funding level would support child care spaces for a total of over 200,000 children.
- The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, which helps parents cover a portion of their child care expenses, would be expanded. Families earning up to $75,000 would be eligible for a tax credit equal to 35 percent of qualified child care expenses up to $3,000 for one child and $6,000 for two or more children. The percentage would phase down to 20 percent for families earning above $103,000. Currently, the percentage starts phasing down for families with incomes above $15,000, so families with incomes between $15,000 and $103,000 could see an increase in their credit under this proposal. However, the proposal would not make the credit refundable, so families with little or no federal tax liability would continue to receive little or no benefit from the credit.
- A State Paid Leave Fund would be established within the Department of Labor with $5 million in funding. The fund would be used to provide start-up grants and technical assistance to states interested in establishing paid leave programs.
This analysis was reprinted with permission from the National Women's Law Center.