The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning partners with parents, schools, child care providers, early-intervention programs, Head Start, libraries, community organizations, and other stakeholders in order to provide Pennsylvania’s youngest children with a high-quality early childhood education system. Private partners also play a key role in ensuring that children have access to the highest quality of care in the early years. Seven Pennsylvania foundations joined together to build a coalition and to fund the Pre-K for PA campaign to expand access to preschool for all three- and four-year-old children in the state under 300 percent of the federal poverty level.
The campaign achieved an interim victory in July of 2014 when the state increased preschool funding by $10 million (an 11.5 percent increase), which will result in 1,670 additional children served. The state partnered specifically with the American Academy of Pediatrics and United Way in drafting their 2014 Infant, Toddler, and Pre-kindergarten Standards. It sets high standards for programs and professionals, and then gives programs the support they need in order to meet those standards, in terms of accountability. Pennsylvania has also released detailed reports to gauge the level at which their early childhood centers are operating, detailing both the risk and reach of the Keystone Stars program, showing that more than one-third of the state’s children under age five participate in some sort of state or federally funded early education program.