Governor Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that increased investment in Virginia’s two largest state-funded preschool programs is expected to result in historic enrollment for the upcoming school year.

The Commonwealth has authorized $151.6 million to Virginia Preschool Initiative and Mixed Delivery in fiscal year 2022, a $60.9 million increase from the previous school year and more than twice the investment made in fiscal year 2018. As a result, the Virginia Department of Education’s Virginia Preschool Initiative and the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation’s Mixed Delivery Preschool Grant Program anticipates serving more than 25,000 three and four-year-olds this fall, as employers reopen and students safely return to in-person instruction. 

Families earning up to 85 percent of the state median income with young children are temporarily eligible for Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program after passage of HB 2206, sponsored by Speaker of the House Eileen Filler-Corn, which Governor Northam extended last month.

According to Northam’s office, the program is serving more than 20,000 children, which is 94 percent of its pre-pandemic total. Federal Head Start and Early Head Start Programs are funded to serve 14,463 children this school year and all sites are working towards full in-person enrollment by January 1, 2022.

“Access to high quality early learning is critical for children’s development, and the Commonwealth’s investment in early childhood education is a major reason Virginia was named the best state to do business for the second year in a row,” said Governor Northam. “Increasing school readiness is more important than ever as we recover from the pandemic, and this historic commitment puts us one step closer to offering a great start for all Virginia children.”

More than 20,000 children were participating in Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program as of August 16, 2021. This is a 51 percent increase from March 2021, meaning an additional 7,325 children are served through expanded eligibility. $316.3 million from the 2020 federal relief dollars were invested in Virginia’s early childhood system. As a result, 95 percent of licensed and regulated child care and early education programs are now open and serving children in person.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant received $793 million of additional American Rescue Plan dollars approved by the General Assembly in August 2021.

  • Find more information on the Virginia Preschool Initiative here.
  • Find more information about the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation and the mixed-delivery grant initiative here.
  • Learn more about eligibility expansion for the Child Care Subsidy Program, and to apply, click here.

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