WILMINGTON, DE ––Following the release of Governor Carney’s recommended budget, including increased investments in early childhood education, and the work of the Delaware Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee – Delaware Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long was joined by members of the General Assembly, child care providers, and advocates to announce the release of the Delaware Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee Final Report.
The final report includes the following recommendations:
• Promote collaboration and coordination through an aligned governance structure.
• Increase program access, particularly for marginalized communities.
• Prioritize meaningful investments in early childhood.
• Support and uplift the early childhood workforce.
“Children are born ready to learn. By investing in our youngest learners we are investing in their most critical years of brain development, better preparing them for lifelong success, and giving families the opportunity to return to the workplace knowing their children are in high-quality learning environments,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long.
“As co-chair of the Delaware Early Learning Advisory Committee, I am excited to see the positive impacts of the committee’s recommendations. We know the data is clear, critical investments early in a child’s development lead to better academic and life outcomes. Giving children the foundation they need and empowering the workforce that cares for them, strengthens our state’s economy and our future.”
“This report maps the change that is possible as we move to a new stage of action in Delaware’s early childhood landscape. Our early childhood professionals are essential to families who need reliable, affordable childcare and support. Our children need to experience nurturing interactions in environments free from toxic stress to positively impact their development and well-being. Our system must respond to what we know. We need to be the village that our children and families deserve,” said Caitlin Gleason, Associate Secretary, Early Childhood Support.
“Under Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long’s leadership, the Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee has produced a thoughtful roadmap for ensuring the success of Delaware’s young children,” noted Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President and CEO of The Hunt Institute. “While the challenges facing the early childhood sector aren’t unique to Delaware, the leadership assembled around their resolution puts the state on strong footing and well ahead of the national curve. We look forward to continuing to support the state as it works to translate the Committee’s recommendations into practice.”
“The Latin American Community Center is excited about the release of the Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee’s Report today,” said Karen Hartz, Latin American Community Center Director of Facilities & Early Childhood Services. “The LACC has been focused on providing comprehensive early childhood education services for many years. We look forward to hearing the state’s plans to bring comprehensive services to more of Delaware’s children and families.”
“Investments in early education are necessary to support working families and to promote early learning and literacy. By ensuring our most vulnerable families have access to childcare, we move closer to providing an equitable start for all Delaware’s children,” said Senator Kyle Evans Gay. “But early education is also critical infrastructure, and these investments will support our economy and workforce. I applaud the Governor for his continued commitment to local economic success and making Delaware the best state to raise kids.”
“As a parent with two children that had a developmental delay, I know from this experience how crucial early learning is for our children’s lives,” said Representative Kim Williams, Chair of the House Education Committee.
“The support for legislation like HS1 for HB 33, a bill that I sponsored which will increase basic pre-k special education funding is just one step towards quality services for all our children. This report shows how we can continue that path forward in providing accessible early childhood education for working families throughout our state. I commend Governor Carney & Lt. Gov. Hall-Long for their commitment and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on this issue.”
Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, whose District includes the Latin American Community Center, stated, “I am thrilled to see the increased focus and investments in early education for the State of Delaware. It is an honor to stand by the Lt. Governor, my legislative colleagues, and the incredible advocates who have championed for the advancement of early education for years. I am eager to continue to push for quality and equitable early education, which will lead to a brighter future for our youngest Delawareans.”
“The earliest years of a child’s life are critical for their future development. Parents and childcare workers know this, and now employers and policy makers are beginning to pay attention,” said Senator Laura Sturgeon. “Delaware is poised to become THE state to raise children, and I am proud to be joined by Lt. Gov Hall-Long, community partners, advocates, and my fellow colleagues to ensure high quality childcare and Pre-Kindergarten is accessible to every working parent.”
“The work of the Advisory Committee aligns with the Delaware Early Childhood Council strategic plan and reinforces key priorities including investing in the workforce, streamlining funding and programs to better serve families, and increasing access for more families. We thank the Lt. Governor for her leadership, and we are excited to work advance our shared commitment to early educators and young children,” stated Madeleine Bayard, Chair, Delaware Early Childhood Council.
“Collaborative initiatives in early care and education that include families, providers, support agencies, and elected officials are positively impacting families and children across the state,” said Jamie Schneider, President, Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children. “Prioritizing funding and systems of early care and education is a catalyst for advances in education equity, economic growth, long term academic success, and reduction of social welfare programs. We are setting a foundation for Delaware’s future by investing in and supporting families and our youngest learners.”
To view the full report click here