The federal government funds 45 early childhood programs and five separate subsidies through the tax code, according to a Government Accountability Office report. Federal spending on programs targeted at small children topped $14.2 billion in 2012, the report says.
Multiple agencies administer these programs, creating the potential for duplicating programs and gaps between the various offerings, the report states.
“Administering similar programs in different agencies can create an environment in which programs may not serve children and families as efficiently and effectively as possible,” it notes.
GAO concludes agencies should consolidate programs and work together more often to address these inefficiencies. Currently, the Obama administration is working to expand government spending and activity concerning small children. President Obama pushed again for federal preschool in his 2014 State of the Union, and the U.S. Department of Education is about to release $250 million in federal grants to expand government preschool within states.
“Early Learning and Child Care: Federal Funds Support Multiple Programs with Similar Goals,” Government Accountability Office, February 2014: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-325T.
Image by Barnaby Wasson.