News   |   Sign Up   |   A LEVER FOR SCALE


Our lead ally in Delaware, Rodel, works with innovators to transform public education in the state. They work side by side with educators and community leaders to form diverse collaboratives. Rodel’s mission is to strengthen Delaware’s public education system and workforce by connecting partners to advance and implement sustainable solutions.

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 39% (39,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 41% (40,000) 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% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing 

On June 30, Delaware Governor John Carney signed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget. The budget provides for $5.6 billion in general fund operating spending, representing a 9.9 percent increase over the prior year, as well as $193.5 million in one time expenditures and contingency funds provided in a
supplemental bill.3

Largest Per Capita Revenue Sources (after federal transfers) (FY 2021):4

    • Individual Income Tax: $2,165 per capita
    • Charges: $1,499 per capita

Charges are public payments connected with a specific government service, such as tuition paid to a state university, payments to a public hospital, or highway tolls. Delaware does not levy a general sales tax but it does have a gross receipts tax. 

Political Alignment: Aligned Democrat

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Democrat.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  One

    • Legislature-Initiated Advisory Questions – Delaware does not allow citizen initiative, referendum, or recall. Several times in the state’s history, non-binding advisory ballot measures have been put before the voters in Delaware.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:7

2023 Policy Progress:

In 2023, Delaware’s state budget saw significant growth on three early care and education fronts. Purchase of Care (child care subsidy) rates increased 15 percent, state funded pre-k funding was doubled, and special education pre-k adult-to-child funding ratios were decreased by 40 percent.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include:8

$10 million in new, ongoing dollars will be invested to increase subsidized child care rates to 100 percent of the 75th percentile.

State funded early care and education (formerly state funded pre-k) funding doubled from $6.1M to $12.2M to serve hundreds more children through stable, annual contracts that require quality standards, pay based on enrollment, and consolidate funds at the state level to streamline processes for programs and families. For the first time, this program now includes infant and toddler slots and family child care providers.

HS 1 for HB 33 aligns the student-to-teacher ratios found in in pre-K basic special education with those in K-3 basic special education, adding additional resources to support high-need children.

New Department of Health and Social Services policy enables child care programs to adopt a sliding scale for co-payment for families, delinking private pay rates in part from the state rate.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Delaware, Rodel, 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

Preschool and Pre-K

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

Child and
Maternal Health

Home Visiting


Early Childhood Infrastructure

Early Childhood Finance and Cost Modeling

Early Childhood Governance



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 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

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

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

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

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

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: