Budget deal expands some early childhood programs

By By KIMBERLY HEFLING

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of thousands more young children would be eligible for early childhood programs under a budget deal reached by lawmakers that advocates hailed as an encouraging sign that Congress is committed to early education.

The National Head Start Association says the deal would restore funds cut from Head Start last year that caused 57,000 children to lose access to the program, which provides educational services to low-income children.

The deal would provide a $1 billion increase for Head Start compared with last year. It also expands a program that gives grants to states for child care assistance for low-income families. And it funds a Race to the Top grant competition that encourages the expansion of preschools.

It still needs to be approved by Congress.

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