Governor Wolf: PA Reaches New Milestone by Expanding Early Learning to More Children and Acts to Stabilize Child Care Industry

Governor WolfCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — After reaching another milestone that expands early education to more than 3,200 additional young children, Governor Tom Wolf ​visited Community Services for Children’s Learning Hub in Allentown on Thursday. During the visit, the governor highlighted the $30 million increase in state funding so more children can attend a quality pre-k program and the $655 million in federal funding available to help child care providers stabilize during the pandemic, allowing more parents to return to work.

“Studies show that children who learn in high-quality pre-k programs perform better in school and are more likely to graduate,” said. Gov. Wolf. “We know that early childhood learning programs are good for children, especially those affected by socioeconomic risk factors, but they’re also good for families and our economy, too. Parents and caregivers rely on affordable, accessible child care to go to work every day. When we ensure high-quality learning programs are available for children, we are making an economic investment to our communities.”

Since taking office, Gov. Wolf has increased funding for Pre-K Counts by 149% and for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (Head Start) by 77%. Both state programs ensure access to high-quality early learning programs for low-income families with children.

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The $25 million increase this year allows Pre-K counts to serve an additional 2,900 children, while the additional $5 million for Head Start will serve 300 more children and their families.  

In addition to these historic investments in early childhood learning programs, the Department of Human Services (DHS) announced on Monday their plan to distribute $655 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to stabilize Pennsylvania’s child care industry. Licensed child care providers are invited to submit applications for one-time grant funding that can be used to cover expenses and provide stabilization to this critical industry.

The governor was joined by DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead in Allentown to provide details on this grant opportunity.

“For our youngest Pennsylvanians, an early childhood education experience can shape their educational, social, and emotional development throughout their lives,” said DHS Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “The $655 million we are investing in child care because of the American Rescue Plan Act will help us stabilize this industry so it can continue to be there for children and families as we move forward. Child care and early learning educators and providers have stood by Pennsylvania families throughout this pandemic, and we will stand with them throughout this economic recovery.”

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Licensed child care providers are invited apply for funding through January 31, 2022. For more information on the grant funding and how to apply, visit here.

In addition to Acting Secretary Snead, the governor was joined by Paula Margraf, president and CEO of Community Services for Children, Inc.; David Lewis, president of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley; Don Bernhard, executive director for Downtown Allentown Community Development; and Tracey Campanini, deputy secretary of DHS’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning.

“Community Services for Children is proud to share in Pennsylvania’s commitment to improving the future of children through access to high-quality early care and education opportunities for low-income families,” said Paula J. Margraf, CEO and President, Community Services for Children, Inc. “Along with the clear benefit to children, over the years the governor’s increased investment has made possible multiple expansions in CSC’s programs through Head Start Supplemental, Pre-K Counts, Home Visitation and the Early Learning Resource Centers, allowing us to reach more children in need, creating an even greater impact. These investments, along with the ARPA funding for sustainability of our essential child care system, will go a long way to ensuring that children, families and communities are strong, and continue to thrive.”

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