Tonight, President Joe Biden unveiled the American Families Plan, which includes sweeping federal investments in national child care, prekindergarten and paid family leave, among other priorities. In response, Start Early leaders issued the following statements:
Transformative Investments in Our Youngest Learners Nationwide
“The American Families Plan contains transformative investments in our youngest learners, their families, and the workforce that represent a quantum leap towards a comprehensive early learning system where every family and child has the opportunity to thrive.
The experiences children have during their first five years shape their brains in a profound way, setting them up for lifelong success. We are excited to see our education system expanded to include preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, supports for families to access high-quality learning and child care, and paid family leave that will help all families begin their journey on a strong foundation of caring, responsive relationships.
Start Early will continue to leverage our expertise in program, policy and research, as well as our decades of work with children, families, the workforce and systems leaders and our efforts to advance equity to help maximize the impact of these historic investments.”
– Diana Rauner, president of Start Early
An Opportunity to Accelerate a Bold Vision for Early Learning in Illinois
“The American Families Plan contains historic investments in our youngest learners, their families and the workforce that create an opportunity to transform our nation’s approach to a prenatal-to-age 5 early learning system.
The Plan will build on the equitable foundations Illinois is already laying through a sweeping package of legislation led by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus earlier this year. It also offers an opportunity to greatly accelerate the realization of a bold vision for our state’s early learning system, laid out in the recommendations from Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Early Childhood Funding Commission.
Start Early looks forward to bringing these federal opportunities to bear on our work here in Illinois to transform our state’s early learning and care system, beginning in the earliest days of life.”
– Ireta Gasner, vice president of Illinois advocacy & policy at Start Early
Moving Washington State One Step Closer Towards a Comprehensive Prenatal-to-Age 5 Early Learning System
“The American Families Plan contains transformative investments in our youngest learners, their families and the workforce that will move Washington state one step closer towards a comprehensive prenatal-to-age 5 early learning system where every family and child has the opportunity to thrive.
These investments will support the implementation of the Fair Start Act, an historic piece of legislation in Washington state that will advance our early care and education system, making high-quality child care more available and affordable, and provide critical supports to families with young children.
“Start Early will continue to leverage our expertise, our decades of direct work and our efforts to advance equity to inform positive changes for our state’s early learning and care system.”
– Valisa Smith, executive director of Start Early’s Washington State Office
About Start Early
Start Early (formerly known as the Ounce of Prevention) is a nonprofit public-private partnership advancing quality early learning and care for families with children, before birth through their earliest years, to help close the opportunity gap. For nearly 40 years, Start Early has delivered best-in-class doula, home visiting, and Early Head Start and Head Start programs. Bringing expertise in program delivery, research and evaluation, professional development, and policy and advocacy, Start Early works in partnership with communities and other experts to drive systemic change so millions more children, families and educators can thrive.