A Very Good Day!
First, the Annapolis Family Support Center cut the ribbon on its brand new playground for infants and toddlers this morning! Carved out of a piece of downtown Annapolis County park, the Tot Lot is adjacent to the Center and was made possible by federal, state, and local government contributions, along with broad community support from foundations and civic organizations. County Executive Steve Schuh was on hand for the ceremonies. The Director of the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, Carnitra White, and the Director of the Family Support Center, Stacey King, are dedicated in word, thought, and deed to primary prevention and strengthening families, and they have been wonderful partners with Maryland Family Network over many years. Check out our Facebook page for video from today’s ribbon cutting.
Second, we learned today that Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate have agreed on a federal funding bill for the current fiscal year. Early care and education programs haven’t been cut, and there have been some significant increases! In this political and economic climate, even level-funding is a victory for advocates who work tirelessly to represent the interests of very young children and their families. And no one is more to thank than our own Senator Barbara Mikulski, who fought hard for this triumph. Here’s what we got:
- An increase of $326 million for the Child Care Development Block Grant. This maintains a set aside of $127 million for infants and toddlers that is slightly more than FY2015.
- An increase of $570 million for Head Start, which includes a $141 million COLA for Head Start and $25 million for Designation and Renewal, $294 million for supplemental funding to increase the hours of Head Start program operation, and a $135 million increase for Early Head Start, Early Head Start-Child Care partnerships, and conversions from Head Start to Early Head Start.
- The continuation of $250 million for Preschool Development Grants through the Department of Education.
- A $15 million increase in IDEA Part B Preschool Grant; and
- A $20 million increase in IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families.
Two very nice events to see out 2015!