High-quality early care and education for children from birth to kindergarten entry is critical to positive child development and has the potential to generate economic returns, which benefit not only children and their families but society at large. Despite the great promise of early care and education, it has been financed in such a way that high-quality early care and education have only been available to a fraction of the families needing and desiring it and does little to further develop the early-care-and-education (ECE) workforce. It is neither sustainable nor adequate to provide the quality of care and learning that children and families need—a shortfall that further perpetuates and drives inequality.
Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education outlines a framework for a funding strategy that will provide reliable, accessible high-quality early care and education for young children from birth to kindergarten entry, including a highly qualified and adequately compensated workforce that is consistent with the vision outlined in the 2015 report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation. The recommendations of this report are based on essential features of child development and early learning, and on principles for high-quality professional practice at the levels of individual practitioners, practice environments, leadership, systems, policies, and resource allocation.