Here’s another chance to be a part of this great moment in the promotion of early childhood learning!
Click Here and Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor the Strong Start for America’s Children Act!

Strong Start Act - Summary

Strong Start for America’s Children Act
to Support Early Learning Bipartisan Bill Acknowledges Learning Needs of Babies and Toddlers

The Strong Start for America’s Children Act of 2013 is a robust beginning toward giving young children the best start in school and in life. In addition to a new federal-state Pre-K partnership, this birth-to-five bill focuses on these important early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers:

  • Gives Early Head Start programs the ability to reach more eligible children through innovative partnerships with child care programs to improve quality.
  • Allows states to use 15 percent of their Pre-K funding to provide high-quality child care settings for infants and toddlers to help minimize the learning gap among low-income children well before they enter preschool.
  • Endorses the expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs that have been shown to have a range of positive impacts on parenting and early development.

Read the Senate version and House version of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act:
Senate Strong Start Act House Strong Start Act

ZERO TO THREE’s mission is to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life.

Click titles below to see info and resources

Baby Set-Aside within Access to Prekindergarten

Allows states to use 15% of their Pre-K funding to provide high-quality child care settings for infants and toddlers to help prevent the learning gap and ensure they are on-track when they get to Pre-K

From the Bill:

  • States may set aside 15% for high-quality early childhood education for infants and toddlers, such as programs that meet EHS standards or are accredited. The Secretaries of Education and HHS would determine the most appropriate way of administering these funds.

Resources:

Back to Top

Early Learning Quality Partnerships

Gives Early Head Start programs – whose benefits to early development have been proven by rigorous research – the ability to reach more eligible children through innovative partnerships with child care programs to improve quality

From the Bill:

  • Establishes grants to Early Head Start (EHS) programs to partner with center-based and family child care programs that agree to meet Early Head Start Program Performance Standards.
  • Priority is given to applicants that will create strong alignments with service providers in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program, programs receiving child care subsidies under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), and prekindergarten programs to create a continuum of services from birth to school entry as well as programs that will work with child care providers across settings (i.e., home-based and center-based).
  • Adds a priority to the basic EHS grants for future EHS grants for entities that agree to form child care partnerships.
  • EHS agencies receiving partnership grants must establish a contractual agreement with the child care programs to raise quality to meet program performance standards. They may use grant funds for child care program expansion; training, technical assistance, and support in meeting the standards (including earning credentials or degrees); and blending funds to provide high-quality full-day child care meeting the program performance standards.
  • Grantees must create a clear timeline for meeting the program standards; HHS must establish standards for defining responsibilities of the partners; programs are exempt from designation renewal requirements for 18 months.
  • Authorization: House bill authorizes $1.4 billion in appropriations for FY 2014 and such sums through FY 2023. Senate bill authorizes $4 billion in appropriations for FY 2014 and such sums through FY 2023. Funds are allocated by states.

Resources:

Back to Top

Child Care

Amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant to support child care training, licensure, compensation and improve health and safety standards to expand quality

From the Bill:

  • Amends CCDBG to allow the Secretary of HHS to reserve $100 million for formula grants to states to support quality improvements such as training, education, and professional development for child care staff; training and technical assistance for providers to become licensed; workforce incentives linked to increased credential or degree completion; meeting health and safety standards; and technical assistance to implement nutrition, physical activity or obesity prevention programs.
  • Ensures children can receive care for at least a year before eligibility is re-determined.

Resources:

Back to Top

Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program

Endorses the expansion of evidence-based home visiting programs that have been shown to have a range of positive impacts on parenting and early development

From the Bill:

Expresses the sense of the House/Senate that the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV) should be extended, citing evidence related to early development starting prenatally, the proportion of infants and toddlers in low-income families, and evidence related to the effectiveness of high-quality programs to promote positive development.

 Program characteristics under current law:

  • 75% of funds must be spent on evidence-based home visiting models as approved by HHS. 13 models are currently approved; 25% of funds may be spent on promising approaches that must be rigorously evaluated.
  • Programs must demonstrate improvements for families in six benchmark areas related to health, child abuse and neglect prevention, school readiness, self-sufficiency, reductions in crime and domestic violence, and coordination of community resources.
  • Funding is $400 million for FY 2014, when the program’s authorization for funding expires.

Resources:

Back to Top