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Early-Childhood Spending on the Upswing in Several States

A survey of 21 states by the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that spending on early-childhood programs is rising slightly, as states make investments in home-visiting programs and state preschool.

The report, which was released this month, compiles information that was gathered from states in December 2012. And while it shows that early-childhood spending in the surveyed states jad increased collectively by $127 million since fiscal 2012, the increases were not uniform. For example, prekindergarten appropriations increased by an overall $65.6 million, with 10 states reporting increases. But five reported decreases and three said their was no change.

The survey showed that spending on home-visiting programs, which link parents to professionals who help teach infant and toddler development, increased by $48.9 million. Fourteen states saw an increase, four cut spending, and three level-funded their programs. NCSL linked the increase in spending to an infusion of $224 million in federal funds that was allocated as part of the Affordable Care Act. Those grants are expected to end in fiscal 2014.

For prekindergarten, the NCSL report characterized the results as showing a "slow but steady rebound." Eighteen of the 21 states survey responded to that question, and showed an increase by about $65 million overall between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013. Ten states devoted more money to prekindergarten, five cut spending and three kept the funding of their programs level.

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