NHSA Encouraged by Comparable FY23 Funding Levels in Senate and House

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Head Start Association applauds the draft fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies bill released today by the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The draft includes proposed investment in Head Start for Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) which nearly matches the funding level agreed to in the House Appropriations Committee earlier this year. This action by the Chairman moves the process forward and closer to negotiations with the House to complete funding legislation for Head Start and other federally-supported programs for the fiscal year that begins on October 1 of this year.

“This progress in Congress is encouraging, especially as local Head Start programs across the country are stretching their limited resources,” said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. “We’re counting on Republicans and Democrats in both chambers to unite on behalf of the one million children and their families who turn to Head Start for health, mental health, nutrition, and school readiness support.”

The Senate proposal includes $12.036 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start, including:

  • $596 million for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for Head Start staff (an approximately 5.4% increase, which is more than double what the White House proposed for FY23, though still well below the current rate of inflation);
  • $262 million for flexible, locally determined Quality Improvement Funds (QIF) for trauma informed care, classroom improvements, and/or workforce retention and recruitment efforts;
  • $140 million for expanded access to infant toddler care through Early Head Start Expansion and Child Care Partnerships; and
  • $8 million for the Tribal Colleges and Universities-Head Start Partnership Program

This builds on the work of the House Appropriations Committee which, under the steadfast leadership of Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) and Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK-04), included a record level of funding for Head Start. The House bill provided an increase of $1.4 billion as part of an overall $34.4 billion in discretionary funding for the Administration for Children and Families. With the Senate matching the House numbers on COLA, QIF, and Tribal Colleges and Universities-Head Start Partnership Program, NHSA is hopeful negotiations between the two Chambers will maintain this necessary level of funding.

While Congress is taking another positive step towards strengthening early childhood education across the country, NHSA and the Head Start community nationwide continue to call on Congress for help in addressing systemic pay parity gaps. Workforce data indicate early educators face severe pay disadvantage for working with younger children nationwide, with their poverty rates an average of 7.7 times higher than for teachers in the K-8 system.1

To read more about Head Start’s recommendations to Congress and the Administration on supporting Head Start, download NHSA’s brief on the Head Start Workforce Crisis.

1. Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. (2020). Early Childhood Workforce Index. University of California Berkeley. cscce.berkeley.edu/workforce-index-2020/the-early-educator-workforce/early-educator-pay-economic-insecurity-across-the-states

About NHSA

The National Head Start Association is committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in school and in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 270,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the United States. ••• Media Contact: Emily Wagner, Director of Communications, media@nhsa.org

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