Strong Start for Children Campaign

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ECEC Members are Taking Action for a Strong Start for Children!

When President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union Address, he announced a major early childhood education proposal:

  • Preschool for four-year-olds
  • Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships for children birth through age three
  • Home visiting

ECEC members see these children in classrooms every day and know the difference that early care and learning makes for beginning with infants and through preschool, and even beyond. The President kicked off a big idea, and it will be up to Congress to move it forward.

Click here for a summary and full text of the bill.

Strong Start Legislation Introduced – Take Action!

In November, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Representative George Miller (D-CA), and Representative Richard Hanna (R-NY) introduced the Strong Start for America’s Children Act.

Latest Updates!

Today, the Senate HELP Committee authorized their approval of the Strong Start for America’s Children Act (S. 1697), which was introduced by Senator Harkin (D-IA) in November 2013, with 12-10 vote. In their conference on the bill, the Committee voted down one amendment offered by Senator Alexander (R-TN) that called for collapsing multiple early childhood federal funding streams into a single source, and offered states broad flexibility to implement early childhood state systems with little federal oversight or regulation.

 The Committee engaged in brief discussion of the bill before passing it. Senator Harkin stressed the bill’s emphasis on federal and state partnerships through the administration of formula grants, as well as the its ability to boost funding for high-quality preschool programs serving low- and moderate-income families and increase the quality of infant and toddler care offered by providers. Senator Alexander responded, emphasizing that the role of the federal government should be to ‘enable not mandate’ and expressing ongoing concern that federal oversight will continue to burden state efforts to administrate multiple early childhood programs effectively.

The bill will now move to the full Senate for a vote.


Fact Sheet from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
Fact Sheet from the House Education and Workforce Committee
Support for the Strong Start Act in Congress
Congressional Research Service Summary of S. 1697

ECEC priority: Ensuring participation of high-quality community-based child care programs in the delivery of the public early education investment taps expertise in working with young children, brings a private and innovative business model, and supports working parents’ need for full work day, year round care for their children.

ECEC represents more than 7,000 centers across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  ECEC members share a commitment to quality, meeting the needs of children from infants through school age, and supporting working families in communities across the country.  This daily experience and commitment brings ECEC to endorse the Start Strong Act.

ECEC Fact Sheets and Action Guides

ECEC Statement on Preschool Proposal
Bold New Initiative: The Child Care Center View
ECEC Recommendations for PreK
Issues in Focus: Early Learning
ECEC’s Policy Agenda for the 113th Congress

ECEC members are taking action!

A Strong Start Makes a Difference ECEC member centers and families contributed to this book, delivered to Congress in September

“A Critically Important Investment in Our Future” June 5 Day of Action “Blog Carnival” post from ECEC member Learning Care Group

See more posts from the June 5 Blog Carnival

“A new Minnesota Miracle: Putting market forces to work for early learners” Op-Ed from ECEC member New Horizon Academy

See more Strong Start press clips

ECEC members sent in hundreds of unique works of art from children in their classrooms, and together we helped make a big delivery to the White House on May 13!