In December 2014, the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education (the Center) was awarded a 5-year, $22.5 million federal grant to enhance and expand access to quality infant and toddler care in high-need communities. This year, the Center was awarded a second $15 million, 4-year federal grant to serve an additional 200 low-income infant and toddlers and their families, and expand the number of early learning programs that offer full-day/full-year services. This is an addition to the 320 infants and toddlers currently being served by the Center at 16 early learning programs.

The first years in a child’s life – when most of their brain is forming – sets the foundation for success in school and in life. Unfortunately, too many young children are missing out on high-quality early learning experiences. With cognitive, social, behavioral and health disparities between lower- and higher-income children starting as early as nine months of age, high-quality early learning programs for infants and toddlers are a key ingredient to closing the opportunity gap, leveling the playing field, and making sure all of our children have the best odds at success.

These grants are designed to respond to the needs of working families by offering flexible and convenient full-day/full-year services. In addition, child care providers have experience providing care that is strongly grounded in the cultural, linguistic, and social needs of the families and the community. These grants ensure that early care and education centers and family child care providers have access to much-needed resources that help them provide comprehensive services for our county’s most vulnerable children and families.