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Our key allies in Virginia are the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) and Voices for Virginia’s Children. VECF is the non-partisan steward of Virginia’s promise for early childhood success, working in tandem with diverse stakeholders to ensure equitable opportunities for all families with young children to thrive. Voices for Virginia’s Children is the commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization and is the KIDS COUNT data center for Virginia. Using this data and independent policy research, they determine unmet needs and threats to child well-being, recommend sound policy solutions, provide objective input to policymakers, and educate and mobilize leaders and concerned citizens to support policy initiatives.

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 30% (269,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% FPL (2021). This number represents a decrease from 34% (304,000) in 2016.1

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

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing

On September 14, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin signed adjustments to the fiscal 2024 budget into law. After adjustments, total operating expenses are $83.8 billion, an increase of 5.7 percent over the original fiscal 2024 budget. General fund appropriations are $31.1 billion, an increase of 7.8 percent over the original fiscal 2024 budget.3

Key Revenue Sources:

    • Personal Income Tax (2.0%-5.75%)
    • State Sales Tax (5.3%)

Political Alignment: Divided

During the 2023 session, the state’s House was Republican controlled, while the Senate was Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was a Republican.4

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:5  One

    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendments – A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:6

A Virginia coalition of advocates is working with Child Care NEXT funding on a sustained effort to pursue bold transformation for the state’s child-care ecosystem.  

2023 Policy Progress:

Bipartisan support for early childhood continues with long-term planning and stability in mind. The Governor (R) and House (R) proposed an additional $20 million to expand ECCE services in their budgets while the Senate (D) included $40 million plus $80 million in contingent funding for child care subsidy. Budget negotiations paused this spring due to potential recession/financial uncertainty but with ongoing disagreements over proposed tax cuts, it is unclear when or if a compromise budget will be reached.

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

Recognizing the need for long-term focus & planning for VA’s ECCE system, HB 1423 and SB1404 were introduced by Del. Coyner (R-Chesterfield) and Sen. Barker’s (D-Fairfax) to create a Commission on Early Childhood Care and Education. Both bills passed unanimously and were signed by the Governor on March 16. The Commission is established for the purpose of providing recommendations for and tracking progress on the financing of a comprehensive birth-to-five early care and education system.

As of October 2022 Virginia adopted a cost model to reimburse child care subsidy providers and parent co-payments were waived or reduced. The new payment rates have been set to reflect the costs of program inputs instead of market rates. Providers in rural communities and those serving infants and toddlers will see the biggest increases. Reducing the parent co-pays will help reduce benefit cliffs and can save some families $600 per year while others could save thousands.

Legislation by Del. Rasoul passed to create a state workgroup to evaluate strategies to reduce maternal & infant mortality rates & make recommendations to expand the perinatal health hub model. Perinatal health hub models are designed to reduce barriers to maternal health care & improve cultural competencies & support for parenting people of color. The workgroup will evaluate funding & implementation strategies to expand access to place-based multi-disciplinary hub models across VA.

During 2023 session, former state Sen. McClellan, Sen.Ebbin & Del. Tran filed legislation to establish a Child Tax Credit (HB2205/SB1324) that would be available to all households who claim dependents & earn under $100,000/yr. While the proposed version did not move forward, the Senate approved a scaled back version that directed the Joint Subcommittee on Tax Policy to study a child tax credit, childcare credit or monthly allowance. A press conference was hosted.

After several attempts the Senate approved a paid family medical leave program. While key lawmakers changed their position to approve the proposal for the first time in 4 years, the measure did not pass in the House. SB1101 by Sen.Boysko and HB2035 by Del.Sewell both failed to advance. The proposed program would create an insurance program that employees and employers would pay into to cover 12 weeks of PFML. The Richmond paper covered the change of mind among Senators and the bill passage.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantees in Virginia are 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

K-3 Education

Preschool and Pre-K

Child and
Maternal Health

Child Welfare

Early Intervention (0-3)

Home Visiting

Infant and Child Health

Maternal Health


Family Economic Security

Paid Family and Medical Leave

Early Childhood Infrastructure

Data Systems

Early Childhood Finance and Cost Modeling

Early Childhood Governance

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.



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.  

More State Policy Data:


More State Demographic Data: