Our vision is that early childhood education and care is funded and governed as a public good and is a fully realized component of the education continuum throughout the United States.

About Us

Transforming Funding Systems

Center for Early Learning Funding Equity builds capacity for assessing adequacy and equity in early learning funding systems through research and transformative partnerships. We create innovative approaches and funding mechanisms that support the diverse needs of children and families. We bring decades of experience in developing and implementing early learning systems at the state and local levels and are driven by our deep belief in the power of early experiences to shape the trajectory of children’s lives.

Our Approach

We are working to support equitable and efficient allocation and distribution of public funds for early childhood education and care. In order to ensure that ECEC is funded as a public good, we believe that we have to think about the entire ECEC sector. We must start by looking at funding streams together (birth to K entry, including preschools, child care, Early/Head Start, and home visiting). Governance matters, and the way we approach multiple funding streams as an interactive, dynamic system at the state level is ultimately what makes learning accessible for young children and families.

We are creating stable, equitable, high-quality systems that support early learning. We know that we will not see equitable outcomes until we create an equitable system.

Defining Funding Adequacy

Rather than just tracking or thinking about funding streams and what they fund, we think first about what kids and families need and what that costs. This is how we identify key factors for program effectiveness (focus on children’s development), including factors specific to particular populations of children.

Mapping Funding Equity

We can’t talk about how equitable our system is until we know where the money actually goes. That’s why we follow the money by geography and program and other key indicators that make sense in a particular context, but we need to create standard metrics and accountability structures for ECEC funding equity.

Creating Standards for Cost Estimation Models

We want to drive and support the ECEC Field toward equitable financing strategies that are data-driven, research-based and are grounded in a set of established and agreed-upon standards. To that end, we must collect and create the research-base that affirms the essential elements of equitable cost-modeling.

Designing Funding Mechanisms

We design funding mechanisms beginning with the needs of children and families in mind. For that reason, we look at all funding streams and how they work together as a system, then define adequacy and build funding mechanisms to support adequacy.

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