Early Childhood Integrated Financing
Research shows that the first five years of a child’s life are critical to their lifelong development, laying the foundation for all future learning and achievement. With nearly 70% of Virginia’s children living in families in which all parents work, early care and education is both a necessary work support and a key school readiness opportunity for young children. Unfortunately, Virginia’s early childhood funding streams and policies, largely federal, are hampered by inflexible, inefficient programmatic and fiscal divides that trickle down to Virginia families as barriers to high-quality early care and education services.
As the state’s private partner for advancing school readiness, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation is exploring integrated financing strategies that promote innovative, flexible and collaborative approaches to high-quality early childhood services. As a first step in this process, VECF publishes Virginia's Children's Budget, a biennial inventory of expenditures for children birth through four. VECF also supports Smart Beginnings partners in identifying and mapping their communities early childhood needs and resources through the development of local fiscal maps.
While early childhood funding streams are separate and distinct in many ways – funding source, eligibility, administering agency – they share a common opportunity to ensure Virginia’s young children have access to high-quality early childhood services so they can start school healthy and ready to learn.
Integrated Financing Meeting
On June 14 and 15, 2018, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) hosted a two-day meeting for state and community leaders to discuss challenges in Virginia’s early childhood funding and financing. It included 80 attendees from state government and communities around the state. The meeting surfaced numerous important issues that Virginia early childhood stakeholders would like to see resolved and led to some specific follow-up plans for the communities that attended.
Integrated Financing Legislatively-Created Workgroup
Results from the Integrated Financing Meeting will inform a legislatively-created workgroup charged with identifying strategies for developing an Integrated Early Childhood Fund at the state level. The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation will facilitate this workgroup and will include the Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Services, and the Department of Planning and Budget. The workgroup submitted a report on October 15, 2018 to the Joint Subcommittee on VPI.
Early Childhood Financing Toolkit - Coming Soon
VECF is developing a toolkit for communities to implement successful financing strategies.