Wolf Administration Continues Historic Investments to High-Quality Early Learning Programs to More Pennsylvania Families

July 12, 2018

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf announced today more Pennsylvania families will have access to high-quality early learning programs, with approximately 2,125 new slots in Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts and 490 new slots in the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) being made available.

“Expanding access to high-quality, early childhood education is one of my top priorities,” said Governor Wolf. “Investing in high-quality early learning impacts our families and our communities. With this boost in both Pre-K Counts and Head Start Supplemental slots, more children will have access to the early learning that will benefit them for years to come.”

In 2018-19, more than 29,250 children will receive services through PA Pre-K Counts or HSSAP.

Since Governor Wolf took office in 2015, Pennsylvania has expanded state-funded preschool by $115 million, adding more than 9,600 slots in Pre-K Counts, and an additional 1,300 in HSSAP.

A 2017 PA Independent Fiscal Office analysis identified an economic impact of $2.15 for each dollar invested at the community level for early learning programs. Not only is this funding a benefit for children and their families, but also communities.

“Research shows that children with access to high-quality early learning programs go on to perform better in school and beyond,” said Rivera. “As Pennsylvania invests in strengthening its workforce to meet existing demand and attract new businesses, we need to give our youngest learners access to educational tools, including social and emotional learning, at an early age so they improve our communities for generations.”

Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts provides high-quality pre-kindergarten services to at-risk three- and four-year olds at no cost to families. Children living in families earning up to 300 percent of poverty, or a family of four earning $75,300 annually, are eligible to apply. Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts is offered in school districts, Keystone STARS 3 and 4 child care programs, Head Start programs, and licensed nursery schools.

Pennsylvania’s Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program provides state funding to Head Start programs to serve three- and four-year-olds living in families at or below 130 percent of poverty, or a family of four earning $32,630 annually. The programs provide comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services aligned to the federal program requirements.

Families may contact the programs directly to apply. Contact information for Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts, Head Start and other early learning programs can be found by visiting the COMPASS website at www.findchildcare.pa.gov and clicking on “Early Learning and Development Programs,” “Find a Provider,” “Preschool,” and “PA Pre-K Counts” or “Head Start.”

For a list of grant recipients, please visit the PDE website.

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