July 8, 2022

Early Learning Pennsylvania Response to 2022-23 State Budget

The principal partners of Early Learning Pennsylvania (ELPA), a statewide coalition of advocates focused on supporting young Pennsylvanians from birth to age five, believes the Commonwealth’s economic recovery hinges on helping working families by prioritizing greater state investments in high-quality pre-k, child care, and evidence-based home visiting.

ELPA operates four issue-based advocacy campaigns: Pre-K for PA, Start Strong PA, Childhood Begins at Home, and Thriving PA.

State budget investments and reaction statements from these campaigns follow:


  • $60 million in additional funding for the state’s Pre-K Counts program.
  • $19 million in additional funding for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program. 

Together, this $79 million expansion will serve over 2,300 additional young children and increase rates for providers to support the early care and education workforce and address rising costs. 

In a press release, the ELPA campaign states, “Public investment in high-quality pre-k has become a consensus issue in Pennsylvania; aligning political parties, rural, urban and suburban communities, and families across the commonwealth on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that improves the life chances of Pennsylvania’s children.”

Child Care

  • Level funding for the state Child Care Assistance line item.
  • $25 million in Child Care Services specifically to serve families currently enrolled in Child Care Works up to 300% of poverty or the state median income (whichever is lower).
  • $90 million in federal funding to provide one-time child care staff recruitment and retention bonuses.

The budget increases state child care funding by $25 million, allowing families currently enrolled in Child Care Works to continue receiving child care subsidy up to 300% of poverty. These new funds should also have the flexibility to support the 160,978 children younger than age five who are eligible but have yet to be served. The $90 million in federal funding also will provide desperate child care programs the short-term solutions they need to alleviate the workforce recruitment and retention crisis.   

“Unfortunately, this budget misses the opportunity to provide long-term solutions to the tens of thousands of families who are struggling to find child care to return to work, as it fails to address the root cause of Pennsylvania’s devastating child care crisis – a history of low wages, resulting in thousands of open staffing positions and more than 1,600 closed classrooms,” according to the ELPA statement.

Sadly, Pennsylvania’s elected leadership has fallen short on ensuring the availability of sustainable child care funds to stabilize the industry. Without a stabilized child care system, families will continue to struggle to find and afford high-quality child care significantly impacting their ability to return to work and remain employed.”

Home Visiting and Early Intervention

  • $15 million in additional funding for evidence-based home visiting in the Community-Based Family Center line item and $1 million for the Nurse-Family Partnership line item. 
  • $9.3 million for the Early Intervention Part C (infants and toddlers) program through DHS (this figure also appears as $12.2 million when stimulus dollars are not included).
  • $10 million for the Early Intervention Part B (age-three-to-five) program through PDE.

“Voluntary, evidence-based home visiting programs mentor parents and others raising children and provide supports to address substance use disorders, develop school readiness, improve maternal and child health, promote economic self-sufficiency, and reduce abuse and neglect. 

“Policymakers made a wise decision to diversify funding and meet families where they are in counties across the state so more parents and their children can access the research-proven benefits the home visiting models deliver.” 

Read ELPA’s full budget response statement for details.

About Early Learning PA Initiatives

Pre-K for PA launched in 2014 with the vision that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. Learn more on the Pre-K for PA website.

Start Strong PA launched in 2019 to support healthy child development, working families, and the economy by increasing access to and affordability of high-quality child care programs for young children. Learn more on the Start Strong PA website.

Childhood Begins At Home is a statewide campaign launched in 2017 to help policymakers and the public understand the value of evidence-based home visiting and support public investments in the programs.  Learn more on the Childhood Begins at Home website.

Thriving PA is a perinatal and child health campaign launched in 2021 and is working to ensure each birthing person, infant, and toddler in Pennsylvania has the opportunity for affordable, quality health care access. Learn more on the Thriving PA website.