Early Care and Education

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Child care allows parents to participate in the workforce but 74% of Virginia’s child care centers are experiencing staffing shortages. The lack of access to affordable child care keeps 68% of parents from working.


Investments in early care and education provide the biggest return on investment for children, families, workers, and the economy. 

Parents, caregivers, professionals, and schools all have a role to play in shaping children’s school readiness, yet the systems needed to support young children and families are splintered and cannot provide enough opportunities for all children to benefit. Despite the broad base of support for early care and education by researchers and economists, 42% of Virginia’s kindergarteners started the 2021 school year without foundational skills.  And the backbone of early childhood programs – early childhood education – is an undervalued and underpaid field where educators, disproportionately women of color, do not earn living wages.  

The delivery of high-quality early childhood care and education should be affordable and accessible to families in a setting of their choice and support educators so they, too, can remain in the workforce and take care of their own families.


Our Priorities:

  1. Ensuring affordable, accessible early education opportunities for economically disadvantaged children and children with developmental delays and disabilities.
  2. Improving social-emotional and mental health resources for young children and parents.
  3. Promoting equitable wages for early childhood educators.


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Track legislative progress via our 2023 Bill Tracker.

We currently participate in the following coalitions: Fund Our Schools, Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy, and Virginia Promise Partnership.

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For more information, contact Allison Gilbreath.