Lowey Announces Historic Funding Increases for Child Care and Early Childhood Learning
SOUTH NYACK, NY – Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY17/Rockland-Westchester) today visited Riverview Nursery School in South Nyack to announce historic federal investments for child care and early childhood learning in the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (LHHS) funding bill, which was signed into law last week as part of a “minibus” spending package. During the visit, Lowey toured the nursery school and participated in a roundtable discussion on the federal funding increases and the advantages of investments in early childhood education.
Joining Lowey at the roundtable were child care and education leaders from Rockland and Westchester, including: Jane Brown, Executive Director, Child Care Resources of Rockland; Kathleen Halas, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.; Ouida Foster Toutebon, Executive Director, Head Start of Rockland; Dr. James Montesano, Superintendent of Schools, Nyack Public Schools; Andrea Bogin, Director, Campus Fun and Learn Center at Rockland Community College; Vickie Frelow, child development expert and board member, Child Care Resources of Rockland; and Jan Lepori, Director, Riverview Nursery School.
“Too many families lack access to affordable child care, which only adds to the economic burdens facing families that also include student loans, rent or mortgage payments, and other skyrocketing costs in our high cost-of-living area,” said Congresswoman Lowey. “Quality and affordable child care should not be a luxury. That is why I am pleased to announce that as the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, I have secured historic investments in child care and early childhood learning. These investments are just the start. I know that the work is not done until every child in our community has access to child care and early learning. I will continue working in the House to strengthen investments that will put our children on the path to success.”
“Since their brains are developing so rapidly (85% in the first five years of life), children need our help NOW – they cannot wait until the deficit has been recovered, roads have been repaired, bridges have been built, tunnels have been dug, walls have been debated, elections have been won, the war against terrorism is over or global warming has been eradicated,” said Jane Brown, Executive Director, Child Care Resources of Rockland. “We thank our friends like Congresswoman Nita Lowey for thinking of children first and fighting for the federal funding that is so needed to ensure our children have a bright future.”
“There is accumulating evidence regarding children who attend Pre-K are more likely to have better reading skills by third grade, versus those who just attend Kindergarten,” said Dr. James Montesano, Superintendent of Schools, Nyack Public Schools. “Isn’t it sensible, not to mention financially prudent, to invest in the very natural way all children develop rather than spending endless dollars in remediation efforts?”
“High quality early learning experiences are the key to just about everything – for children, parents, employers, our entire economy,” said Kathleen Halas, Executive Director, Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. “There is no better way to invest in our people and our nation.”
“Head Start of Rockland, Inc. is thankful for the positive recognition given to the importance of early childhood education,” said Ouida Foster Toutebon, Executive Director, Head Start of Rockland. “At Head Start we continue to change the lives of young children and their parents through school readiness, providing comprehensive services through education, health and family engagement.”
"Decades of research have clearly demonstrated that high quality, developmentally appropriate early childhood programs produce both short and long-term positive effects on children’s cognitive and social development,” said Andrea Bogin, Director, Campus Fun and Learn Center at Rockland Community College. “High quality childcare can predict academic success, adjustment to school, along with reduced behavioral problems. Federal support for families, as well as our early childhood programs, is imperative in order to make this investment in the future. It has a two-generation approach by allowing our low-income working families the opportunity to create a positive cycle of change for themselves and their children, while giving the next generation the best start for their future.”
Specifically, the FY19 LHHS spending bill—which funds the Departments of Health and Human Services and Department of Education for fiscal year 2019—provides:
- $5.3 billion in discretionary Child Care and Development Block Grant funding, an increase of $50 million from last year’s record increases;
- $10.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start, an increase of $200 million.
- $250 million for Preschool Development Grants, which help states create and improve preschool accessibility; and
- $50 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program (CCAMPIS), which currently assists students at Rockland Community College and Westchester Community College by providing affordable child care on campus while parents attend class.
The historic investments in child care and early childhood learning in the FY19 LHHS spending bill are a strong repudiation of President Trump’s budget proposal, which called for steep cuts to domestic agencies and programs and the elimination of CCAMPIS.