State Initiatives to Promote Early Learning: Next Steps in Coordinating Subsidized Child Care, Head Start, and State Prekindergarten

Publication Date: April 2001

Publisher: Center for Law and Social Policy

Author(s): Rachel Schumacher; Mark Greenberg; Joan Lombardi

Research Area: Education; Social conditions

Type: Report

Coverage: Georgia United States Massachusetts Ohio


Historically, the United States has been known both for its limited support of publicly funded child care and early education services and lack of coordination among existing services. Recently, there have been substantial expansions in funding for subsidized child care, the Head Start program, and in some states, for prekindergarten initiatives. The expanded funding has been driven by concerns about two broadly shared social goals: the need to address school readiness for all children and the need to provide work supports for families in light of increasing labor force participation by mothers of young children. While current funding still reaches only a fraction of preschool children, some states now have considerable experience in coordinating subsidized child care, Head Start, and state prekindergarten initiatives to enhance early education and learning opportunities for young children.

Drawing on the experiences of three states, this paper describes the challenges states face in addressing these important social goals, responses to those challenges, and recommendations for the future.

Supplementary files include a Policy brief, and reports for Georgia, Massachusetts and Ohio.