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Virginia FY18-19 Budget & Children’s Cabinet - GOOD NEWS for Early Childhood Programs

Research consistently shows the value of early childhood education and that it is smart to invest in early childhood services.  The National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs has found that high quality early childhood programs can yield returns of $9 for every $1 spent because they generate better education, health, social and economic outcomes.  Early childhood services set children on a path to graduate high school, hold a job and contribute to society, while those who do not receive these services are more likely to drop-out of school, commit crimes and become incarerated.

The General Assembly and Governor Northam have recently demonstrated their support for early childhood services.  The state budget FY18-19 recently passed with continued support for key state-funded early childhood programs, including Smart Beginnings, and included over $11 million in NEW state investments in early childhood education.

Additionally, on June 21, 2018, the Office of the Governor announced Governor Northam signed an Executive Order establishing a new Children’s Cabinet, chaired by First Lady Pamela Northam, to improve the quality and access to early childhood programs across Virginia.  The First Lady shared that Jenna Conway will serve as Virginia’s first ever “Chief School Readiness Officer” to coordinate policies and resources to best serve Virginia’s families and economy.  Most recently, Conway worked to unify and improve child care, Head Start and Pre-K systems for the Louisiana Department of Education.  To learn more about this initiative, see the Office of the Governor’s press release - https://www.governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/all-releases/2018/june/headline-826810-en.html

Locally, the Regional Commission’s Smart Beginnings program works to build the early childhood system, draw resources to the region, support service providers and advance school readiness.  Smart Beginnings will be monitoring early childhood funding opportunities, so the NRV can apply for and benefit from increased investment.

For further information, please contact Meghan Pfleiderer, (meghan@nrvrc.org) 540-639-9313, ext. 213.