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Help Delaware Families Access Child Care!

Help Delaware Families Access Child Care!  


Families with children cannot function without reliable child care. Yet families in Delaware today struggle to find available, high-quality, and affordable care. Instead they find long waitlists, closing child care centers, and blown schedules.  


Meanwhile, child care workers continue to earn minimum wages and lack health insurance. The local business and nonprofit communities have rallied around child care as a lever for economic growth. 


It’s time for Delaware to prioritize families and support the workforce. Tell legislators to make affordable, accessible child care a priority in the upcoming budget.  


Current State 

  • 37% of parents were placed on waitlists by two or more centers and the waitlists for these centers are, on average, between 3-12 months 
  • 81% of centers report having a waitlist 
  • 47% of providers said that all of their classrooms were open, several reported having to limit the number of children in a class as a result of staffing shortages  
  • 85% of children are without access to publicly funded early care and education  
  • State support rates are 40% lower in Sussex and Kent counties – and still below what it costs to provide the requirements of the state 
  • Local employers facing shortages and lost productivity, in part due to lack of child care 
  • Governor’s Budget proposes 
    • Additional $10 million for POC rate increase  
    • Expanding eligibility for POC 
    • $3.9M to fund HS 1 for HB 33, lowering basic special education ratios to align with K-3 
    • Doubling ECAP to $12M  



FY 24 Budget Ask 


The Governor’s Recommended Budget included significant investments in early childcare. In addition to the recommendations in the Governor’s budget, we are asking: 


DHSS: Purchase of Care  

$40 million in state support to… 

  • For the requirements set by the state: currently, state rates are below what the state requires programs to provide by 12-86% percent. The basic cost of care was established by the Department of Social Services Cost Estimation Model report, issued March 1, 2022. The Governor's budget proposes paying the market rate, or what parents and the state can afford-- which is an improvement, but does not cover the true cost of care to meet state requirements. 
  • Pay a statewide rate (equivalent in all counties) -- Kent and Sussex County child care programs currently receive 40% less than those in New Castle County – while they face the same costs for staff and supplies. 15 other states pay a statewide rate. 
  • Increase eligibility for families to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, to offset minimum wage increases and keep up with regional states including below Maryland and New York, which are at 300%.  The Governor’s budget proposes expanding eligibility to 200%. 
  • Increase Purchase of Care rates for centers serving for children with special education needs. Currently centers serving special needs children receive no additional funds, some receive ~5% more, while other states funding significantly more.  

DOE: Workforce Supports and Special Education Pre-K 

  • Invest in the workforce, which continues to make minimum wage and has received a $1000 bonus since child care – Provide $2000 next year per educator (total $10M) 
  • Decrease the child: adult ratio in special education pre-k to provide more services and align with early childhood requirements and best practices ($4M) 


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