Let Governor Wolf Know You Support Investments in Early Childhood
High-quality pre-k, evidence-based home visiting and high-quality infant/toddler child care comprise a continuum of services that helps Pennsylvania parents maximize the impact of the first five years of life when 90 percent of brain development occurs. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of young children each year do not have access to these high quality early learning opportunities due to limited funds.
Pre-K for PA, Start Strong PA and Childhood Begins At Home are urging Governor Wolf to invest across the full early learning continuum of services as part of his 2020-2021 state budget proposal. Please take a moment to add your name to our petition to Governor Wolf. Together we can send a strong message that Pennsylvania is united for early childhood education!
From: [Your Name]
Dear Governor Wolf,
We thank you for your commitment to growing access to high-quality early learning programs. Like you, we are motivated by the research showing that 90 percent of brain development occurs in the first five years of life. State investments that increase access to evidence-based home visiting, high-quality infant/toddler child care and high-quality prekindergarten programs will yield tremendous cost savings to the Commonwealth in the form of reduced special education, public assistance and incarceration costs and have the most important added benefit of supporting the healthy development of children and ensuring they are ready to learn. Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of young children do not have access to high quality early learning opportunities each year due to limited funds.
With that in mind and looking ahead to your 2019-20 state budget proposal, we again urge you to champion significant increases to targeted early learning opportunities for our youngest learners and their families.
Specifically, we urge you to support a continuum of investments for children birth to five that:
1) Increases funding for PA Pre-K Counts and the Head Start State Supplemental Assistance Program by a combined $80 million. Such an investment would keep Pennsylvania on pace to fully-fund these programs by 2022-23 per the vision of the Pre-K for PA Campaign while offering important rate increases to ensure quality.
2) Invest a total of $76.7 million in new state funds for high-quality child care to correct the FY 19-20 reduction ($36 million) in state child care funds that were replaced with federal CCDBG and TANF funds and increase the state Child Care Services appropriation by $40.7 million to serve about 2,710 infants and toddlers on the subsidy waiting list in high-quality programs.
3) Build upon the commonwealth’s recently expanded state investments in evidence-based home visiting by allocating an additional $12.5 million between the Community Based-Family Centers and the Nurse Family Partnership line items within the Department of Human Services budget to serve a greater proportion of pregnant women, young children, and families eligible for evidence-based home visiting services.
Helping Pennsylvania families maximize the potential of the first five years of life is one of the smartest investments this Commonwealth can make. Thank you very much for taking the time to consider this correspondence.