U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Richard Hanna today announced legislation to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for children from birth to age five. The Strong Start for America's Children Act focuses on four key goals: boosting funding for high-quality preschool programs serving low- and moderate-income families; increasing the quality of infant and toddler care offered by providers; supporting broad-scale quality improvements to child care programs; and encouraging continued support for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program.
"If we expect our children to walk through the doors of our colleges and universities tomorrow, and succeed in our economy in the years ahead -- we need universal pre-k," said Senator Gillibrand. "High quality early learning leads to strong cognitive, social, emotional and language development -- key skills for a bright future. But for millions of children in struggling families -- that is a chance they will never get -- through no fault of their own, and for no other reason, than they were born into a life of less opportunity. The block you live on should not determine what chances you get in life. That's why we need to make the investment today to bring quality, affordable, pre-k to every child in America."
"High-quality early learning guarantees a reduction in spending on entitlements, welfare and incarceration," Rep. Hanna said. "It also lowers obesity rates, helping to reduce healthcare costs. By focusing on early education we can begin to break the back of intergenerational poverty, producing more taxpayers and a more competitive America through a better-educated, growing middle class. We cannot guarantee every child equal success in life, but we can promise them the opportunity to be successful. I hope this effort is the beginning of a sustained bipartisan conversation on how expanding access to early education will make our economy more competitive and ensure each child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. One in four children starts their life in poverty. This bill will help ensure their lives do not end in poverty."