Gov. Wolf joins advocates and legislative members to discuss increased investments in early childhood education

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(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

READING — On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf joined advocates and legislative members at the YMCA in Reading to celebrate the $30 million increase in early childhood education funding in the state budget.

This new funding will allow an additional 3,270 children to enroll in the state’s high-quality early learning programs.

Joining the governor were President and CEO of YMCA of Reading Kim Johnson, United Way of Berks County President Tammy White, Chairwoman and CEO of C.H. Briggs Company Julia H. Klein, parent of child enrolled in early education Yessenia Vasquez, Sen. Judy Schwank and Rep. Manuel Guzman Jr.

“Early childhood education programs set students up for success,” said Gov. Wolf. “When our children are successful in school and beyond, that sets our commonwealth up for success, too. That’s why I’ve fought so hard to support early learning in Pennsylvania – doubling its investment – and this year’s budget increased our investment in quality early childhood education once again.”

Pennsylvania administers two early childhood learning programs: Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental Assistance (Head Start). Both programs make sure low-income families with children can access high-quality early learning programs.

This year’s $30 million investment raises the funding for Pre-K Counts by 149 percent since 2014-15 and funding for Head Start by 77 percent. A total of $145 million in funding increases has been secured over the past six years for the programs.

The $30 million early childhood education increase includes:

  • $25 million increase for Pre-K Counts, equating to an additional 2,800 children.
  • $5 million for Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program, equating to an additional 470 children.

“Pennsylvania is ready to get back on track from COVID-19, and our investment in quality early childhood learning and child care programs is a crucial step toward that goal,” said Gov. Wolf. “This year’s budget does that by investing additional funds in early childhood education. By ensuring that high-quality early education and child care options are available for families who need them we will help parents and caregivers return to the workforce with confidence that their children are receiving the care they need and deserve.

“This is an investment in our children and our education system, but it is also an investment in a better, more prosperous future for all Pennsylvanians,” said Gov. Wolf.

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