The Strong Start for America's Children Act of 2013 (H.R. 3461)
Millions of young children from low-income families lack access to high-quality, affordable preschool programs. Decades of studies have found that quality preschool leads to a wide range of short- and long-term benefits, including better educational outcomes, stronger job earnings, and lower levels of crime and delinquency. The Strong Start for America's Children Act is a bold, 10-year innovative federal-state partnership to expand and improve early learning opportunities for children across the birth-to-age-five continuum. The Strong Start for America’s Children Act provides:
Access to Preschool for 4-Year Olds
- Formula funding is provided to states, with a state match, for high-quality, full-day pre-kindergarten for four-year old children from families earning below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
- States in turn provide sub-grants to local entities to offer children high-quality prekindergarten, which includes:
- Teachers with high qualifications;
- Rigorous health and safety standards;
- Small class sizes and low child-to-staff ratios;
- Instruction that is based in evidence and is developmentally appropriate;
- Evidence-based child-staff comprehensive services for children, including strong parent and family engagement, nutritious meals, and health screening and referrals.
Early Learning Quality Partnerships
- New Early Head Start and child care partnerships are supported to improve the quality of child care for infants and toddlers through age three.
- Local Early Head Start agencies contract with local center-based child care programs and family child care homes serving infants and toddlers to raise child care program quality through training and technical assistance.
- These partnerships will meet the high-quality performance standards of Early Head Start and blend federal funds to provide high-quality, full-day care.
- $100 million is reserved to support child care training, licensure, and professional development and workforce incentives to expand quality.
- All children supported by the Child Care and Development Block Grant receive care for at least a year before a family has to re-determine its eligibility.
- The bill expresses a sense of the House that federal funding for voluntary, evidence-based home visitation programs be continued.