The NCSL Blog


By Alison May

For the past six years, NCSL’s Early Care and Education project staff have conducted a survey of state legislative fiscal offices on their fiscal year state appropriations for various early care and education programs.

Boy and girl at schoolThis year NCSL surveyed 50 state legislative fiscal offices on their FY 2015, FY 2016 and FY 2017 state appropriations for various early care and education programs—child care, prekindergarten, home visiting and other related early childhood programs. Survey responses from 36 states were returned.

This year’s survey of states’ appropriations provides insight into the different approaches that states take to fund early care and education.

Budgeting decisions show how legislatures most effectively use available federal, state, local and private resources. Some states are increasing investments in child care, preschool programs, home visiting strategies and other initiatives that support healthy development and early learning.

Some highlights learned through the survey results include:

  • Many states reported using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds for child care. Twenty-four states transferred or directly used TANF funds for child care ranging from $197 in Kentucky up to $382 million in California.
  • Prekindergarten funding saw general fund increases in Alabama, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Oregon. A few states reported using Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and TANF funding for preschool services.
  • For home visiting programs, a few states indicated a decrease in federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding, while a handful of states reported appropriating more general fund for home visiting.

Access additional information including tables by category on our website. Thirty-three states reported child care information; 31 reported prekindergarten information; 34 reported home visiting information and 30 reported other early childhood appropriations.

NCSL will release a deeper analysis of the data shortly which we will share both through our website and through the NCSL Blog.

Alison May is a staff coordinator in NCSL’s Children and Families program.

Contact Alison.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.