Early Childhood Systems Financing

Financing early childhood systems in the United States is complex. Scenarios for financing early childhood systems differ dramatically from state to state depending on the economic, political, and historical context at work.

The BUILD Initiative helps state leaders develop strategies to pay for high quality early childhood programs and services.Funding sources vary from federal, state, and local public dollars to private support from philanthropy and individuals. Financing models and mechanisms run the gamut as do the amounts of funding allocated per child served.

The BUILD Initiative has particularly emphasized financing in our work with states and through our Learning Community. Partners in this work have included the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance and The Finance Project.

Throughout the past decade, BUILD has convened numerous meetings in partnership with others to focus on such issues as: 

  • Financing early learning programs through the school funding formula
  • Paid family leave as a financing strategy for infant/toddler care
  • Shared services alliances as an approach to developing more sustainable high quality learning programs
  • Blending and leveraging funding streams, among others

The challenge of how to fund a high quality early childhood system continues to be a high priority for all states and BUILD is committed to supporting state leaders in developing new strategies. The downturn in the economy made this issue an even bigger challenge. 

Regardless of how creative states may be in their financing approaches, a strong advocacy effort is also essential if we are to not only use existing funding streams more effectively on behalf of young children but also bring in new public financing to support these important programs. BUILD emphasizes these multi-faceted approaches in all aspects of its work with states.