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Increasing federal investment in children’s early care and education to raise quality, access, and affordability

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The core challenge our proposal seeks to address is how to ensure that every American family and child has access to high-quality, affordable early childhood care and education (ECE) services in a critical period of human development, breaking a shortage of investment in young children. America’s status quo asks the most of parents when they have the least. The public invests only about $1,500 per child annually in care and education in children’s first 5 years of life, when parents have the least earning and borrowing power, and then invests $12,800 per child annually for the next 13 years, when parents have more. Under this proposal, every family can choose to access affordable ECE services at qualified, high-quality center-, home-, and school-based providers using either a slot that providers have been contracted to provide or a scholarship. Families in poverty can choose Early Head Start and Head Start with the option of full-time, full-year services. Total family financial payments are capped and depend on family income-to-poverty ratio. The combination of family and public payments to providers will adjust to be sufficient to cover the local costs of efficiently producing high-quality care and services. Competition focuses in three domains: procurement competitions for local service contracts that reveal information about local production costs, competition between providers about how best to use a localized sufficient care-labor budget to attract, develop, motivate, and retain care talent, and competition between providers to serve local families better. (author abstract)

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Other
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Country:
United States

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