Senators Casey, Mikulski Join Jennifer Garner and Mark Shriver to Push for Early Childhood Education

Legislation Introduced to Help Vulnerable Children Get a Good Start in Life

WASHINGTON, DC—U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) today joined actress Jennifer Garner and Mark Shriver of Save the Children to push for quality early education for all children and improved access to quality childcare.

“High-quality early education and childcare boosts the nation’s productivity, prosperity and competitiveness by giving our children the best shot at success and ensuring a stronger workforce,” said Senator Casey. “Preparing children for the future must be a priority in Congress, especially as we employ strategies to grow the economy and create jobs.”

“For every $1 we invest in high-quality early childhood development programs, our society sees a return of $16,” Senator Mikulski, Chairwoman of the HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families, said. “Programs like Head Start and Early Head Start have long-term economic payoffs like higher income, reduced crime, better health and a larger more qualified workforce. I began my career as a social worker and I saw first-hand how these programs can make a difference in a child’s life. I will continue to fight for the next generation and the future of our country.”

“As an advocate and a mom, I’m thrilled to help launch this effort to ensure that every child in America is prepared and ready when they walk in the door to Kindergarten” said Jennifer Garner, Artist Ambassador for Save the Children’s U.S. Programs. “Thanks to Senators Mikulski and Casey, we are moving closer to having the kind of education system that all our children deserve.”

“With only 60 percent of kids enrolled in pre-school, it’s crucial that we close this gap and this new legislation will help take us on a path toward doing just that,” said Mark Shriver, Save the Children’s Senior Vice President for U.S. Programs.

Senator Casey, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, today introduced two pieces of legislation to ensure all children have access to high-quality pre-kindergarten education and childcare.

The Prepare All Kids Act (S.1156) will assist states in providing at least one year of high quality pre-kindergarten to children.

The bill will provide voluntary high quality pre-kindergarten education to all children, with a focus on children from low income families and children with special needs.

The Starting Early, Starting Right Act (S.1155) would reverse chronic underfunding of child care and improve the quality and increase the availability of child care to children in low-income and working class families. The bill will give states resources to offer child care assistance to children who are currently on waiting lists and help states meet the needs of underserved children.