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Virginia Allies Celebrate Budget Wins for Children, Families, and Early Care and Education

Alliance allies in Virginia – Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and Voices for Virginia’s Children – worked with bipartisan leaders to negotiate a two-year budget that supports children and families, including investments in early childhood education, children’s healthy development, and family support systems. Building on major initiatives from Governor Ralph Northam’s administration, the General Assembly was also encouraged to support early education by the new Governor Glenn Yougkin signaling bipartisan support. Budget wins for children, families, and early education programs approved by the House and Senate include:

Increasing Access, Quality and Choice to Early Education:

  • Expansion of the Mixed Delivery preschool program, including a pilot serving infants and toddlers ($7 million)
  • Expansion and improvements to the Virginia Preschool Initiative, including serving more 3-year-olds ($46 million)
  • Expanded allowances for child care subsidy program ($73 million in federal funding per year) including:
    • removing participation time limits
    • job search as an eligible activity
    • piloting categorical eligibility (Medicaid and WIC)
    • increasing payments based on cost methodology
    • increasing income eligibility up to 85% state median income
  • Establishment of Ready Regions, the statewide public-private regional early childhood network
  • Expansion of Part C Early Intervention Services support for infants and toddlers with developmental delays ($6 million)

Supporting the Early Childhood Workforce:

  • Expansion of early educator recruitment and retention grants ($10 million)

Increasing Family Economic Stability:

  • Making the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) partially refundable at 15% of the federal refund which will benefit working families, including families of color. This victory is the result of campaigns for more fair tax policies and an effort to prioritize parents in the budget. While the campaign was successful in helping to adopt the EITC after many years of attempts, tax relief payments factoring in household size and children were not successful.
  • Boosting the buying power of SNAP benefits to purchase fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and community retailers ($1 million each year)

Voices for Virginia’s Children and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation are part of the Virginia Promise Partnership (VPP), a broad coalition of early childhood advocates and stakeholders, including parents, educators, and providers. The coalition is crucial to creating a powerful voice for young children in Virginia, and to creating a more equitable system that provides quality, affordable child care for all Virginia families by 2030.

This story was adapted from a Voices for Virginia’s Children and a Virginia Promise Partnership blog post.