JFC Approves Governor’s Early Childhood Proposal
It’s a big day for kids, families, schools, businesses, and our state. The Governor’s proposed early childhood investment has been approved by the Joint Finance Committee of the General Assembly! A round of applause for all those that made this happen is due.
Yesterday, the JFC approved the Department of Health and Social Services’ increase in Purchase of Care subsidies of $9M, which will enable the state to subsidize early childhood services at 65% of market rate and increase rates at $.50 per day. And today, the $3M in the Department of Education budget was approved, which would provide infrastructure and merit awards to support programs as they improve their quality ratings. And just a few minutes ago, the Office of Management and Budget components were approved, including the $10M for quality incentives for programs as they reach the 3, 4, and 5 quality ratings.
As the first increase in Purchase of Care rates in six years, the first direct state investment in the quality rating system, and the establishment of a tiered reimbursment system, this is a huge milestone. The magnitude of support for this has been overwhelming and unquestionable; it included the providers, the DSEA, the Superintendents, United Way, Vision 2015, Early Childhood Council, the business commmunity, parents, and many others. This unanimous outpouring of support no doubt helped legislators make their decisions and will help maintain this investment as the budget gets finalized before June 30. Thanks to everyone who is making this possible.