Lt. Governor Hall-Long Announces the Release of the Delaware Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee Final Report

WILMINGTON, DE – Following the release of Governor Carney’s recommended budget, including increased investments in early childhood education, and the work of the Delaware Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee –  Delaware Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long was joined by members of the General Assembly, child care providers, and advocates to announce the release of the Delaware Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee Final Report.


The final report includes the following recommendations:

  • Promote collaboration and coordination through an aligned governance structure.
  • Increase program access, particularly for marginalized communities.
  • Prioritize meaningful investments in early childhood.
  • Support and uplift the early childhood workforce.


“Children are born ready to learn. By investing in our youngest learners we are investing in their most critical years of brain development, better preparing them for lifelong success, and giving families the opportunity to return to the workplace knowing their children are in high-quality learning environments,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “As co-chair of the Delaware Early Learning Advisory Committee, I am excited to see the positive impacts of the committee’s recommendations. We know the data is clear, critical investments early in a child’s development lead to better academic and life outcomes. Giving children the foundation they need and empowering the workforce that cares for them, strengthens our state’s economy and our future.”


“This report maps the change that is possible as we move to a new stage of action in Delaware’s early childhood landscape. Our early childhood professionals are essential to families who need reliable, affordable childcare and support. Our children need to experience nurturing interactions in environments free from toxic stress to positively impact their development and well-being. Our system must respond to what we know. We need to be the village that our children and families deserve,” said Caitlin Gleason, Associate Secretary, Early Childhood Support.


“Under Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long’s leadership, the Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee has produced a thoughtful roadmap for ensuring the success of Delaware’s young children,” noted Dr. Javaid Siddiqi, President and CEO of The Hunt Institute. “While the challenges facing the early childhood sector aren’t unique to Delaware, the leadership assembled around their resolution puts the state on strong footing and well ahead of the national curve. We look forward to continuing to support the state as it works to translate the Committee’s recommendations into practice.”


“The Latin American Community Center is excited about the release of the Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee’s Report today,” said Karen Hartz, Latin American Community Center Director of Facilities & Early Childhood Services.  “The LACC has been focused on providing comprehensive early childhood education services for many years. We look forward to hearing the state’s plans to bring comprehensive services to more of Delaware’s children and families.”


“Investments in early education are necessary to support working families and to promote early learning and literacy. By ensuring our most vulnerable families have access to childcare, we move closer to providing an equitable start for all Delaware’s children,” said Senator Kyle Evans Gay. “But early education is also critical infrastructure, and these investments will support our economy and workforce. I applaud the Governor for his continued commitment to local economic success and making Delaware the best state to raise kids.”


“As a parent with two children that had a developmental delay, I know from this experience how crucial early learning is for our children’s lives,” said Representative Kim Williams, Chair of the House Education Committee. “The support for legislation like HS1 for HB 33, a bill that I sponsored which will increase basic pre-k special education funding is just one step towards quality services for all our children. This report shows how we can continue that path forward in providing accessible early childhood education for working families throughout our state. I commend Governor Carney & Lt. Gov. Hall-Long for their commitment and look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on this issue.”


Senator Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman, whose District includes the Latin American Community Center, stated, “I am thrilled to see the increased focus and investments in early education for the State of Delaware. It is an honor to stand by the Lt. Governor, my legislative colleagues, and the incredible advocates who have championed for the advancement of early education for years. I am eager to continue to push for quality and equitable early education, which will lead to a brighter future for our youngest Delawareans.”


“The earliest years of a child’s life are critical for their future development. Parents and childcare workers know this, and now employers and policy makers are beginning to pay attention,” said Senator Laura Sturgeon. “Delaware is poised to become THE state to raise children, and I am proud to be joined by Lt. Gov Hall-Long, community partners, advocates, and my fellow colleagues to ensure high quality childcare and Pre-Kindergarten is accessible to every working parent.”


“The work of the Advisory Committee aligns with the Delaware Early Childhood Council strategic plan and reinforces key priorities including investing in the workforce, streamlining funding and programs to better serve families, and increasing access for more families.  We thank the Lt. Governor for her leadership, and we are excited to work advance our shared commitment to early educators and young children,” stated Madeleine Bayard, Chair, Delaware Early Childhood Council.


“Collaborative initiatives in early care and education that include families, providers, support agencies, and elected officials are positively impacting families and children across the state,” said Jamie Schneider, President, Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children.  “Prioritizing funding and systems of early care and education is a catalyst for advances in education equity, economic growth, long term academic success, and reduction of social welfare programs.  We are setting a foundation for Delaware’s future by investing in and supporting families and our youngest learners.”


To view the full report click here:

Delaware Announces Significant New ARPA Funding for Childcare Providers

$120M in total funding for childcare through ARPA; funding will support direct financial assistance for childcare professionals, and partnership with Delaware State University

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney, Lt. Bethany Hall-Long and members of Delaware’s congressional delegation joined childcare providers at Delaware State University on Monday to announce significant new funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support Delaware’s childcare industry and childcare professionals.

In total, ARPA is providing more than $120 million in relief for Delaware’s childcare industry. The federal legislation was signed on March 11 by President Joe Biden and championed in Congress by members of Delaware’s federal delegation – Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester.

ARPA investments in childcare announced on Monday include

  • $24 million for the Child Care Stabilization grants to help childcare providers statewide remain open and operating. This investment is in addition to the $66 million in ARPA funding that already has been distributed through these stabilization grants. 
  • $10.6 million in direct financial relief for Delaware childcare workers.

Also on Monday, Governor Carney and Delaware State University President Tony Allen announced $10.6 million in state ARPA funding for the university’s new Early Childhood Innovation Center, in partnership with the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) and the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). 

“Delaware’s childcare providers have stepped up and stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing hospital workers, first responders, and other emergency personnel to stay on the front lines over the course of this crisis. They deserve our support and a significant debt of gratitude,” said Governor Carney. “This new funding from the American Rescue Plan will support childcare providers, help providers keep their doors open, and help them attract and retain staff. We’re also excited about our new partnership at Delaware State University, which will build on workforce development efforts statewide to support current and future early childhood staff. I want to thank President Biden and our federal delegation for making these important resources available.”

“We know that the first five years are critical to a child’s development. The earlier we make these crucial investments in early learning, we are increasing their ability to thrive by providing them and their families with the tools they need to succeed,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Delaware’s childcare providers answered the call during the pandemic and remained open so that frontline workers could work to save lives. Thanks to President Biden and our federal delegation, this strategic investment in early childhood education, along with the new Early Childhood Innovation Center at Delaware State University will expand the resources available to our children. There is more work to do, but this will go a long way to help them meet the challenges they face and create an equitable system of learning.”

“Early childhood education programs are the building blocks to a child’s success. We know that children who participate in these programs are more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college or job training programs. But with a workforce shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of resources, early childhood education programs are in crisis,” said Delaware’s congressional delegation of Senators Tom Carper, Chris Coons and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “That’s why we are proud to announce more than $120 million for the First State’s childcare industry from the American Rescue Plan Act – federal funding which will help childcare providers hire and retain the staff they need to keep their doors open. We look forward seeing these resources implemented to help grow and support Delaware’s early childhood education programs for future generations to come.”

“We are a workforce of primarily women, primarily BIWOC, many of whom are mothers and many of whom rely on government subsidy programs because they make just over minimum wage.  There are rarely benefits, there is rarely paid time off, and it’s a highly skilled workforce that is responsible for creating the social emotional and educational foundation children need to not only be successful in academics but all areas of life,” said Jamie Schneider, Executive Director of Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children (DAEYC). “I am confident that by working together, we can elevate early care and education in Delaware to be a national example of how to solve the childcare crisis.  We must continue to work in partnership to make sure families in Delaware feel secure in going to work each day knowing their children are in high-quality developmentally appropriate childcare.”

“Child care is essential infrastructure for our state, and these investments will have a significant, immediate impact on Delaware’s workforce and child care shortages,” said Madeleine Bayard, Chair of the Delaware Early Childhood Council. “We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers to ensure quality, affordable child care is available to all children and families.”

“We know it takes a village to raise a child, and we cannot forget about those who make up the village,” said Dannaé Sewell, Director of Delaware State University’s Early Childhood Laboratory School. “The parents, guardians, community partnerships, and importantly, the early childhood educators. Keeping the early education workforce at the forefront is everyone’s job.”

Over the next five years, in partnership with DOE and DHSS, Delaware State University will receive a total of $30.6 million to support the construction and launch of the Early Childhood Innovation Center, invest in Delaware’s childcare workforce, and expand access to affordable childcare for Delaware families in need. The total includes the $10.6 million in ARPA funding announced on Monday. Under terms of the partnership, which is expected to be finalized this week, Delaware State University would develop statewide infrastructure for a unique pathway for Delawareans seeking careers in the childcare industry. The funding will also expand scholarship opportunities to support working professionals who are seeking additional education. 

“We have always known that early childhood experiences are critical to the educational success of all children, especially those of color and/or living in poverty,” said Delaware State University President Tony Allen. “As a longtime advocate for education reform, I am thrilled to see the State taking this decisive step to address the issue. At the same time, I am humbled at the trust placed in Delaware State University, but equally confident that we will deliver for families across Delaware.”

Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long and members of Delaware’s congressional delegation have recently announced several initiatives funded by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

In October, Governor Carney announced plans to invest $26.4 million in affordable housing in Wilmington, $50 million for jobs training programs statewide, and $50 million to build a modern Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill in Smyrna. 

In Bridgeville last month, Governor Carney announced a $110 million plan to provide universal, wired broadband access for all Delaware homes and businesses. Delaware is aiming to become the first state to close every “last mile” with wired, high-speed broadband.

Additionally, Governor Carney and Lt. Governor Hall-Long announced a $100 million Community Investment Recovery Fund to support major, nonprofit capital projects statewide, and workforce funding for Delaware hospitals and long-term care facilities. 

Click here for the Community Investment Recovery Fund application for nonprofits. The application deadline is November 30. 

Visit to learn more about how the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) is helping in Delaware.

Click here for video from today’s announcement.


Delaware Early Education & Child Care Stabilization Fund Hearing

CCDF Public Hearing Announcement 5.3.21

Gov. Carney: Delawareans for Educational Opportunity, DE NAACP Agreement Makes Significant Investment in DE Schools

Settlement agreement in Chancery Court case would make Opportunity Funding permanent and expand funding for high-needs schools

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday announced an agreement with Delawareans for Educational Opportunity and the Delaware NAACP to make significant new investments in Delaware public schools and dedicate additional funding for Delaware’s most disadvantaged students to help close achievement gaps.

The settlement agreement announced on Monday suspends litigation currently pending in Delaware’s Court of Chancery and creates a path forward to provide substantial additional support for Delaware schools, high-needs students and educators.

The agreement announced on Monday will:

  • More than double funding for Opportunity Funding to $60 million annually by Fiscal Year 2025, and make the weighted funding program permanent. Funding will increase automatically with enrollment beyond 2025.
  • Double funding for the Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) to expand access to affordable early education.
  • Provide full funding for K-3 basic special education, consistent with grades 4-12.
  • Provide additional funding for teacher recruitment and retention in high-needs schools.

Opportunity Funding provides targeted funding – for the first time in Delaware’s history – for low-income students and English learners statewide. Members of the Delaware General Assembly must approve terms the agreement as part of the regular budget and legislative process.

“It’s important to make clear that both parties viewed this case and these settlement negotiations as an opportunity to make real progress for Delaware’s children,” said Governor Carney. “This is a path forward to support our most disadvantaged students and families – and one that will help close the persistent achievement gap in our schools.

“But our work is just getting started,” said Governor Carney. “The General Assembly will need to consider these changes as part of its regular budget process in Dover. I look forward to discussions with legislators. Delaware’s General Assembly has supported increased investments in public education over the last four years and I believe legislators of both parties will see the merit in this proposal.”

“Every student – regardless of zip code or background – deserves a high-quality public education. And yet, Delaware’s current education funding formula fails to account for the simple fact that in order to succeed, children with the greatest needs require the most support,” said Senator Elizabeth Lockman. “That is the reform we are all working towards and the settlement announced today marks a potential step forward in our efforts to create a funding formula that is truly equitable for all students. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to fully discuss the details of the proposal with my colleagues, parents, educators and taxpayers in the weeks ahead.”

“As a mother of two children who were identified very early as developmentally delayed, I know firsthand how important it is to have teachers in place to provide quality services,” said Representative Kim Williams, a longtime advocate for K-3 special education funding. “Research has proven that early identification and intervention are critical to a child’s overall success. By the time a child reaches third grade, they should be transitioning from learning to read to reading to learn. If we are committed to fundamentally improving the quality of education in our state, then we must make a commitment early on.”

“In 2015, while serving as Chair of the Wilmington Education Advisory Committee, WEAC received input from thousands of Delawareans up and down the state – parents, lawmakers, educators, community partners, politicians alike,” said Dr. Tony Allen, President of Delaware State University. “That input continued when WEAC morphed into the Commission. At that time, not one person said that the last 60 years of K12 education for students from economically distressed communities was sustainable,  appropriate, or fair. The settlement reached today proves the point and represents a principled commitment to what I believe is a fundamental American right — every child’s access to a quality education.  In the spirit of the indomitable Louis L. Redding, Chancellor Collins Seitz, and many more, may we forever be compelled to a higher purpose and greater sense of responsibility for our fellow citizens – particularly the most vulnerable among us.”

“This agreement will continue our work to support the Delaware students and educators who need our help the most,” said Dr. Susan Bunting, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Education. “Through our Opportunity Funding program, low-income students and young English learners already are receiving additional support, and that work will expand statewide. We will provide new services for young students with special needs, and early childhood education. Our team at the Department of Education looks forward to working with educators to make a real difference for Delaware children with these additional resources.”

“For years, our members have been advocating for the resources needed to meet the needs their of English Learners, low-income, and k-3 basic special education students,” said Stephanie Ingram, President of the Delaware State Education Association. “This sustainable funding will do just that and continue to supply educators with the resources they need. We are hopeful that the General Assembly will make this a permanent part of our funding, and address the structural short comings in education funding in Delaware.”

“On behalf of the Delaware Hispanic Commission and the many English Learners and their families, we want to thank Governor Carney and Secretary Bunting for their leadership in bringing the much-needed permanent funding for children who are at risk in Delaware,” said Javier Torrijos, chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “Children of poverty and English learners need the resources to keep pace with their peers. School districts will be able to look at long-term programs and provide the resources to meet these students’ needs.  We are extremely grateful and after many years of advocacy we see this as a major victory for all Delawareans and more importantly the future of our children and this great state.”


Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting Announce $7.6 Million Early Childhood Education Grant

Grant targets early learning opportunities for children from low-income families

WILMINGTON, Del. – A $7.65 million federal grant will help Delaware expand high quality early childhood education to more of the state’s youngest learners over the next five years.

This new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership grant follows a $7.24 million grant the state received in January 2015. Both grants target early learning opportunities for children from low-income families. While the first grant supported such placements statewide, this new grant will continue the expansion with a focus on high quality care options in Kent and Sussex counties, areas with continued need for high quality infant and toddler care and holistic services, such as health and nutrition.

Governor John Carney, joined by Secretary of Education Susan Bunting, announced the new award today during a visit to the Latin American Community Center’s early childhood center in Wilmington. The LACC is one of participants in the 2015 grant.

“A high quality early learning experience is important for all children, and research shows this is especially true for our children from low-income families. High quality early learning yields substantial benefits for these children,” said Governor Carney, noting a 39 percent reduction in special education placements, 30 percent increase in high school graduation, 50 percent increase in college attendance and 20 percent reduction in the likelihood of serving time in jail. “Thanks to this grant, all children in these centers’ classrooms will benefit from teachers with higher education and classrooms with higher quality materials and structural supports.”

The Early Head Start-Child Care partnership integrates the financial and program support of three programs – Delaware Stars, federal Early Head Start, and Delaware’s Purchase of Care program – to raise the quality of infant and toddler child care with more stabilized funding and by paying for teacher education, infant-toddler classroom materials and playground equipment. The program also provides wraparound health and parent services for children from low-income families, such as developmental, nutrition and dental assessments, referrals to services, home visits and help accessing housing, food and job supports.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Early Head Start-Child Care program “brings together the strengths of child care and EHS programs. Child care centers and family child care providers 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 their local communities.”

The grants support children from birth to age 3 years and their families being served in highly-rated Delaware Stars programs. The Delaware Department of Education is partnering with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services to support the work.

The state has made significant investments and progress in raising the quality of early learning in the state in recent years, and ensuring every child arrives in kindergarten ready to learn is a priority of Governor Carney’s administration. Investments include increased professional learning for early childhood educators, onsite support and classroom materials for early learning programs, and developmental screenings and mental health consultants to detect and address physical and mental health issues.

The percent of low-income children enrolled in a highly rated Stars program increased from 5 percent in 2011 to 76 percent of children 0-5 and 78 percent of all children in 2016. And the number of 5-star programs statewide increased from 24 in 2012 to 203 as of January.

But more need exists, particularly in Kent and Sussex counties, where the newest grant will target its supports.

“Families want high quality early care and learning opportunities for their children.  However, in some areas of our state there are few, if any, available options. This grant will provide more infants and toddlers in some of our neediest areas the chance to have the best possible start,” said Bunting.