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New Jersey

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) works for a future where all New Jersey children grow up healthy, safe, and educated. They educate, inform, and engage leaders and the public on children’s needs through research, data, and policy analysis.

As one of their priorities, ACNJ works with local and state groups to promote high-quality early education from infancy to age 8.

State Allies:

Advocates for Children of New Jersey • Newark, NJ
Top Priorities for 2021

Protect existing state-funded preschool programs and advocate for additional funding to expand preschool to additional districts, so that more 3- and 4-year-olds could benefit from the program.

Increase the supports needed for all child care centers and family child care homes participating in the state child care subsidy program to achieve a “3” or above on the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System, Grow NJ Kids, so that program access and quality will improve.

Increase the compensation of the early childhood workforce to a wage that, based on education and experience, is comparable to the average starting salary of a New Jersey public school kindergarten teacher.

Increase federal funding for early care and education in order for New Jersey’s early childhood agenda to move forward, become stronger, and better meet the needs of the state’s children and families.

Increase funding so that more children in New Jersey’s child welfare system can benefit from home visiting.

New Jersey’s 2020 Early Childhood Policy Landscape and Progress:

Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

House (D), Senate (D),
Governor (D)

269,316 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

Due to the pandemic, the state of New Jersey’s economy faces a $9 billion budget deficit. Governor Phil Murphy signed the $32.7 billion FY2021 New Jersey budget into law, which covers all planned spending between October 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.

There is some good news for kids in FY2021. FY2021 budget additions include preschool expansion, special education funding for school districts, school lunch aid to make meals free for more students, and additional funding for the lead hazard remediation fund. The budget also includes $250 million in federal dollars to address child care during the pandemic, including $150 million in tuition assistance for children aged 5 to 13.

*Early childhood policy progress in a state is the result of numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

More from New Jersey:

New Jersey Hosts Advocates from California for a Powerful Learning Tour

A site visit to Abbott Preschool in New Jersey provided advocates from across country the opportunity to hear the inspiring story of how they have transformed their early learning programs – from birth through 3rd grade – over the past 20 years, following the implementation of a court order requiring expansion of high quality preschool programs to address inequities in their education system and how that first step led to the development of the state’s broader early learning system.

Read More »

Download the full 50-State report.

The Alliance for Early Success 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Policy expands state data (disaggregating low-income young children by race) and provides high-level state policy trend analysis for the nation as a whole. Click the icon to download the report.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 


The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape New Jersey early childhood state policy.

Strategic, Outcomes-Focused Investments

Consulting and Strategy

Technical Support from National Expertise

Rapid Response Support

Connections/Access to Allies in Similar States

Roles in National Communities of Practice