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Our lead ally in Alaska is Alaska Children’s Trust (ACT), the statewide lead organization focused on the prevention of child abuse and neglect. ACT serves as advocate, convener, and catalyst for building a state that ensures children grow up in safe, stable, and nurturing environments. ACT influences public policy and, as the home to KIDS COUNT Alaska, produces reliable data, makes policy recommendations, and provides tools needed to advance sound policies that benefit Alaska’s children, youth, and families.

2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 33% (28,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL (2021). This number represents a decrease from 36% (33,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% FPL than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Note: This data does not take into account the traditional subsistence way of life of Alaska’s rural Indigenous communities, where economics are different and households would not necessarily self-identify as “low-income.”

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Declining 

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy signed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget into law on June 19, while also announcing line-item vetoes. The budget provides for total expenditures (including capital) of $12.3 billion in fiscal 2024, a 10.8 percent decline from fiscal 2023. Excluding capital, the enacted budget includes$4.7 billion in unrestricted general fund spending (a 1.4 percent decline from fiscal 2023), $844.7 million in dedicated general fund (a 10.3 percent decline), $812.5 million in other spending (a 2.4 percent increase), and $3.2 billion in federal fund spending (a 26.1 percent decrease). The budget calls for $2.6 billion in total capital appropriations, a 0.2 percent decline from fiscal 2023. Total sources of funds (including unrestricted revenue, restricted revenue, and other sources) are estimated at $13.4 billion in fiscal 2024 (a 14.1 percent decrease from fiscal 2023), while unrestricted revenue is projected at $2.7 billion (a 24.5 percent decrease). The budget is projected to have a surplus of $297.1 million. Additionally, the Constitutional Budget Reserve ending balance is forecasted at $2.8 billion. Permanent Fund Dividends per Alaskan are set to be $1,304 in fiscal 2024.3

Key Revenue Sources:

Alaska does not levy a general sales tax or an individual income tax. According to the Urban Institute, Alaska’s largest sources of per capita revenue in fiscal year 2020 (after federal transfers) were property taxes and charges such as state university tuition and highway tolls. Alaska also collects a relatively large amount of revenue from severance taxes, which are taxes on the extraction of natural resources such as oil and natural gas.

Political Alignment: Aligned

During the 2023 session, Alaska’s Senate consisted of a bi-partisan majority coalition, with no formal minority. Alaska’s Governor is Republican, and the House is led by a Republican-dominated coalition with two Democrats and two Independents.7

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:5 Six

    • Voter-initiated state statutes, which earn a spot on the ballot when sponsors collect signatures according to the laws governing the initiative process in Alaska. In Alaska, all initiatives are indirect.
    • Legislature-initiated constitutional amendments. These are voted onto the ballot when both houses of the Alaska State Legislature agree to put them on the ballot by a 2/3rds vote.
    • Bonding propositions can be placed on the ballot by the state legislature.
    • Veto referenda. When citizens of Alaska disagree with a statute or legislative bill enacted by the state legislature, they can collect signatures to force the issue to a vote. If enough signatures are collected, the bill is placed on the statewide ballot.
    • Automatic ballot referrals. In Alaska, there is one such question, by law, every ten years–the question of whether to hold a constitutional convention.
    • Advisory questions. The state legislature is allowed to put statewide advisory-only votes on the ballot; often, these advisory votes ask whether the citizenry would like to see a proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot in a future year.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:6

2023 Policy Progress:

This year, Alaska prioritized maternal and child health by extending postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months. Seeking solutions to Alaska’s child care crisis, Governor Dunleavy announced the establishment of a child care task force, a cost of care study, and a child care workforce study. And while Alaska faces serious, ongoing SNAP & Medicaid backlogs, substantial state investments ($80+ million) were made in technology and staffing improvements for the long-term.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:7

PASSED – Extended Medicaid Coverage for New Moms (SB58). This session, ACT actively and wholeheartedly supported Governor Dunleavy’s bill to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months. While this change will take time to go into effect, extending healthcare coverage for new mothers gives more time to address post-birth health issues such as postpartum depression, a condition that increases a family’s risk of entering the child welfare system. Senate Bill 58 passed both the House and Senate with nearly unanimous support.

ESTABLISHED – Governor’s Task Force on Child Care (AO 346). To find a way forward in addressing Alaska’s serious lack of affordable, accessible, high-quality child care, in April Governor Dunleavy announced a new task force to dig in and develop a plan. Given how complex the child care system truly is, advocates are pleased to see this attention to the sector and look forward to the task force’s work over the next year. Initial recommendations due December 2023; final in July 2024.

PASSED – FY24 State Budget Investments. While advocates would have liked to see even greater support in this year’s budget, there’s no doubt Alaska is heading in a direction to celebrate. Highlights include:

Child Care – $7.5M in one-time funding for child care worker wage increases (largest state investment in decades)

Head Start – $5M in one-time funding (for a total of $11M)

Pre-K – $3M for first year of universal pre-K grants (total of $8.7M)

K-12 Education – $680 per student in one-time funding (for a total of $6,640 per student) added to the Base Student Allocation (BSA) for K-12 public schools

New Home & Place-Based Child Care – $250,000 in one-time funding for grants and training for friends, family members, and neighbors looking to start home and place-based child care businesses

Trauma/ACES Reduction – $252,200 for grants to reduce childhood trauma and ACES through youth behavioral health services

Alaska Early Childhood

Marijuana Tax Is Now a $5 Million Win for Alaska Child Care and Early Education

Anchorage, Alaska will soon benefit from an additional five to six million dollars per year in funds for child care and early education thanks to voter approval of Proposition 14 in April, also known as the “Care for Kids” measure. The five percent sales tax on marijuana purchases has existed for years, but the funds will now be used for the benefit of young children and their families rather than going into the city’s general fund.

Read More »


1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023 .

4 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

5 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

6 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

7 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

2023 Grantee Policy Agenda:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Alaska, Alaska Children’s Trust, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas that align with the Alliance’s birth-through-eight policy framework

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Preschool and Pre-K

K-3rd Grade

Child and
Maternal Health

Maternal Health

Infant & Child Health

Early Intervention (Age 0-3)


Family Economic Security

Home Visiting

Paid Family & Medical Leave

Child Welfare


Early Childhood Infrastructure



Early Childhood Governance 

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: