While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many city and state budget crises, it has also reminded us of the critical importance of child care and early learning programs. Thanks to the advocacy of Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) advocates this past year, many states made historic investments in early childhood education that will expand programs and change the lives of tens of thousands of children for years to come.
Major victories for children this past year included:
A historic investment to fund a “moonshot” for children in New Mexico.
In New Mexico, we successfully supported efforts to pass a historic $300 million Early Childhood Trust Fund that will provide sustainable funding for early childhood programs, such as preschool and Families First, a home-visiting program that offers medical screenings and other services for expecting moms and young children.
SCAN mobilized our grassroots supporters in the state, worked closely with amazing partners like NM Voices for Children, the NM Early Childhood Development Partnership, and the Invest in Kids Coalition and even ran ads touting the critical importance of early education.
Universal pre-K for Colorado’s kids.
During the November election, Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition EE, which will provide $2 billion in funding over the next decade to make the Colorado Preschool Program universal, as well as for programs to serve children ages 0-3 in metropolitan areas, such as Denver. Colorado joins six states and the District of Columbia to offer universal preschool.
SCAN advocates in CO texted or sent hand written cards to more than 37,000 voters about Proposition EE. We also created and promoted videos of our advocates talking about the critical importance of passing this proposition. Save the Children Trustee Jennifer Garner created a video, too!
Vital financial support to sustain the child care industry.
Lawmakers in states such as Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Tennessee and Vermont heard from SCAN advocates who successfully urged governors and policymakers to invest both state and federal funds in stabilizing the child care industry. This will be critical to ensuring that high-quality care will be accessible when the pandemic ends so parents can return to work and children can be better prepared to succeed in school.
These gains are the direct result of advocates like you who, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, called, emailed, wrote or virtually met with state lawmakers to ask them to prioritize kids. Each of these victories received bipartisan support as voters on all sides of the political spectrum spoke up and confirmed that early childhood education is a top priority. We will keep pushing in 2021, because there has never been a more important time to invest in kids with programs that are essential to their development, health and future.