Unprecedented Demand Reflects Growing Interest at the State Level in Bolder and More Equitable Child-Care Solutions
The deadline has passed for state teams to apply for Child Care NEXT — a grant program to support transformational change in a state’s child-care system — and 36 states have applied to be a part of the movement. Selected state teams will receive multi-year funding as well as access to national expertise and peer support from other states in the group. The three-dozen proposals come from states of a wide variety of sizes, regions, and political landscapes, reflecting the growing belief in states hit hard by COVID that a strong child-care system is essential to short-term recovery and long-term success.
“Child care is in desperate need of a demonstration that moves beyond tinkering around the edges and shows the powerful ripple effect that a bold change can have in economic vitality and family well-being. And states are where those kinds of creative policy solutions are born and proven.”
Helene Stebbins, Executive Director
Alliance for Early Success
Child Care NEXT is administered by the Alliance and is guided by a steering committee of 15 national policy and grassroots organizations. The concept was originally developed by Elliot Haspel, Program Officer for Education Policy and Research at the Robins Foundation in Richmond, Virginia.
State teams made up of a wide range of diverse stakeholders came together to craft each of the proposals, demonstrating a commitment to build and share the type of power than leads to sustained and transformative change. The next step in the process is for teams of reviewers – which include policy professionals, child-care providers, and parents – to assess the applications for viability and likely success.
“Now is the moment for this transformation,” Stebbins said. “The pandemic put a spotlight on the fundamental dysfunction and inequity in our current child-care system, and the response from states shows we have the attention and the momentum that leads to change. We cannot waste it.”
At current funding levels, only five states will be selected for Child Care NEXT. Finalists will be announced in mid-June. Timelines and additional information can be found at www.earlysuccess.org/childcarenext.