Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long stresses the need for early childhood investments in Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. – Delaware Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long held a press conference Monday to release the final report from the Office of Early Learning Advisory Committee. In the report, several recommendations were made to invest in early childhood education which the Lt. Governor says is critical to ensure the state’s youngest get the best start possible for a bright future.

Lt. Governor Hall-Long was joined by members of the General Assembly, child care providers, and education advocates at the Latin American Community Center’s La Fiesta Early Development Center in Wilmington to release the findings.

The report made several recommendations, including expanding early childhood education programs along with an increased focus on the early childhood workforce.

“Laying out a holistic plan that is accessible to all children no matter their zip code,” Lt. Governor Hall-Long told our Rob Petree. “Making sure we have partners from the public and private sectors in the school systems as well as really making sure we have the true investments that are absolutely necessary, and keeping it simple.”

The final report focused on key areas and included 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.”

Earlier this month, Governor John Carney announced the administration’s child care priorities and investments for the coming year as part of his recommended budget following the State of the State Address. Those investments include $10 million to increase Purchase of Care rates to 100% of the 75th percentile of the 2021 market rate, to better support programs and children in need.

“We know how critical the early years are to a child’s success,” Governor Carney explained. “We also know how important our child care providers are to our state. Today’s significant investments in Purchase of Care, ECAP, and our youngest learners with special needs are another step forward for child care in our state. I want to thank Lt. Governor Hall-Long and others for continuing to make child care a priority. And thank you to all of our child care providers for what you do every day.”

During our interview with Lt. Governor Hall-Long following the press conference, she stressed the importance of the investments, critically highlighting the need for an increased focus on Delaware’s youngest.

“$10 million more dollars going towards expanding opportunities, increasing the percent poverty to 200-percent for something known as ‘Purchase of Care’ which is for low-income children and then also making sure that we have accessible, twice-double the amount of opportunity for three and four year old’s,” Lt. Governor Hall-Long said. “And in doing so, we have to really make sure we have the workforce.”

Lt. Governor Hall-Long also talked about how mental health plays an important role in the development of children.

“There is no better time because children are under trauma and ACEs with families, and when I say ACEs, Acquired Childhood Exposures to Trauma, it is critical that we provide stability, relationship, and equity in early learning,” Lt. Governor Hall-Long said. “Mental health issues go hand-in-hand with early learning and brain development.”

Moving forward, Lt. Governor Hall-Long expressed excitement at what’s to come as the state looks ahead to an increased focus on childhood education and development.

“I am thrilled that we released the report today,” Lt. Governor Hall-Long said emphatically. “It’s in tandem with the Governor’s proposed budget and members of the General Assembly, and I think for my colleagues and friends in Sussex and Kent listening, there’s going to be a lot of opportunity for some geographic issues being addressed.”

Additionally, Delaware won an $8 million federal Preschool Development Grant, which will help the state be innovative in strengthening its early childhood infrastructure.

You can get more information and read the full report in its entirety at:

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Local Politics, Political Insider