Virginia’s Children’s Budget Details State Spending on Early Childhood

Richmond, Va. (Nov. 30, 2017) – The Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) has released Virginia’s Children’s Budget 2017, a new report that represents a comprehensive fiscal profile detailing all spending directed to systems and services for children (birth to four years of age) by state agencies.

During State Fiscal Year 2018 (July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018), total early childhood investment, flowing through the state budget, is estimated at $1.37 billion, or about 2.6 percent of Virginia’s total budget. Federal funds make up 54 percent of the total and state funds constitute 46 percent.

The report identified a number of key findings:

  • The Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS)/Medicaid represents 62 percent of all spending at $845 million. Three other agencies (Heath, Social Services and Education) each have investments exceeding $100
  • Total non-Medicaid spending is $526.1 million. About 60 percent of this amount comes from federal
  • Outside of Medicaid, Virginia invests $212 million in state funds for birth-four systems and
  • Virginia invests $1,100 per child annually of its own funds to promote early development and school readiness for at-risk
  • One percent of total funding in fiscal year 2018 was directed to system development and quality improvement within the early childhood

“The Virginia’s Children’s Budget reveals essential baseline data about early childhood financing in Virginia, which has a direct impact on school readiness for our youngest citizens,” said Bill Ermatinger, VECF Board Chair and EVP/Chief Human Resources Officer for Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va. “A clear understanding of budgeting and financing is necessary to enable strategic, effective and efficient decision-making regarding the best use of limited state resources.”

Ermatinger noted that commitment of state dollars for the birth-four years is inadequate to address unmet needs for at-risk children and families, particularly those living in poverty. “With

40-plus line items across eight state agencies, coordination and efficiency can be challenging and may impact the outcomes of these important investments. Creating and financing an effective governance strategy will be key to elevating early childhood to the top ranks of public policy priorities,” he stated.

“This report would not have been possible without the responsiveness and transparency of our state agency partners, which indicate their commitment to maximize opportunities that will create a successful future for our state’s children and their families,” said Kathy Glazer, President of the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation. “Working together, we will utilize data- informed strategies to reach all eligible children with the prioritized quality early education services that they so richly deserve.”

The Virginia’s Children’s Budget 2017 can be viewed in its entirety, including detailed spreadsheets of early childhood spending by state agencies, at www.vecf.org/reports-and-tools.

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About the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation: VECF creates results-oriented partnerships to ensure that young children are healthy and prepared for school, life and workforce success. To learn more about VECF, visit www.vecf.org.

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