The $2.3 billion in new child care funding represents an historic increase not experienced since its inception in 1990 under the George H.W. Bush Administration. Other increases included the 1996 TANF law that included an influx of $1 billion over six years that also leveraged state matching funds. The next big increase came at the end of the Clinton Administration which saw an increase in annual appropriations of a little more than $800 million in FY 2001. After that there were almost no increases in funds until the 2009 stimulus package under President Obama with a $2 billion increase over two years.
This budget increase of $2.3 billion will now bring total discretionary dollars to $5.2 billion. This combines with the stagnant TANF child care funds which provides an additional $2.9 billion of which approximately $2 billion requires a state match. This funding also carries with it certain set asides to improve the quality and early childhood training and reimbursement rates for child care providers. In the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which was the first reauthorization since 1996, Congress mandated certain quality improvements, protections for families receiving child care subsidies and other requirements such as background checks. These new dollars will help implement these provisions and by at least one estimate will increase child care subsidies to 230,000 children.
There was also funding increases in Head Start. Nearly $700 million more than what the Trump Administration wanted and more than $600 million above the final 2017 appropriations with over $100 million of that allocation for an expansion of Early Head Start. Combined, early childhood education and child care scored a much needed $3 billion increase.