By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Early childhood education is a priority for a lot of people. In Milwaukee, several organizations are working toward ensuring that early childhood education is accessible and equitable for all. Among these efforts include a focus on child care options.
Earlier this week, the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families announced that it will be investing in programs geared at early care and education efforts. In total, $194 million will be invested.
Emilie Amundson, the secretary for Department of Children and Families, spoke on the investments and expressed her appreciation for Gov. Tony Evers and the Joint Committee on Finance in a press release.
“Wisconsin has made an unprecedented investment in the early care and education industry, which has stabilized to almost pre-pandemic levels,” Amundson said.
Funding from the American Rescue Plan Act will go toward these programs. Some of the investments include $112.3 million for Child Care Counts, $5 million for the building of a Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program, $30.6 million for T.E.A.C.H. and REWARD programs and more.
“These additional programs will help us continue to build upon that momentum and build a stronger ECE system that supports all Wisconsin families,” Amundson said in the press release.
The Department of Children and Families submitted its formal request to the Joint Committee on Finance in December. The committee sent back an amended approval on Tuesday, Feb. 9, with the aforementioned amounts outlined.
According to the press release, the Evers Administration has invested over $824 million in federal relief funds to support early childhood education.
In an article published by National University, Jessica Alvarado, an academic program director for the BA in Early Childhood Development, spoke on the importance of early childhood programs. She noted that it is where children learn social and emotional skills that will help them interact and navigate the world.
As early childhood and child care programs continue to be emphasized, investments such as these demonstrate their importance.