GOP "Stopgap" Threatens Local Childcare Program

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Leading children's academy, Hopkins House in Alexandria, Virginia to lose funding if GOP plan to prevent government shutdown passes

The provision to end funding to this critical pre-school educator training program would be a major setback for pre-school programs across this community

The Early Childhood Learning Institute (ECLI), a critical local childcare program managed by Hopkins House Children's Preschool Academy in the Alexandria and Fairfax areas of Northern Virginia, will lose over half of its funding if the Continuing Resolution (CR) released Friday by the House GOP passes.

Specifically, the resolution includes a provision (§168) to rescind the federal funding appropriated in Fiscal 2010 that supports the ECLI program, which is currently helping 100 low-income, mostly single, mothers of young children in the Greater Washington community train to become accredited pre-school teachers. Currently there is an urgent need for high quality, educated pre-school teachers throughout the region.

"The provision to end funding to this critical pre-school educator training program would be a major setback for pre-school programs across this community," said J. Glenn Hopkins, president of Hopkins House. "It would also strip away the hopes of these individuals who are trying to break the cycle of poverty through higher education and professional development."

The ECLI is a community-based workforce development demonstration project designed to assist low-income individuals earn a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, 31 credits toward a college degree in Early Childhood Education, and full-time employment in local childcare centers at a starting salary of at least $25,000 plus benefits. Through the efforts of Congressman James P. Moran, a federal appropriation of $250,000 for the ECLI was signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2009.

"While we acknowledge the need to reduce the federal debt and control government spending, we urge a more reasoned approach," added Hopkins.

In a 2007 speech in Manchester, N.H., President Obama said that research has consistently illustrated that investing in early childhood education pays off. “For every $1 we invest in these programs," Obama said, "we get $10 back in reduced welfare rolls, fewer health care costs, and less crime.”

Based on this heavily documented research, federal investment in the ECLI of $250,000 – miniscule in the context of a trillion dollar federal budget – represents the prospect of over $2.5 million in social savings – taxpayer money that will not have to be spent in the future on welfare, health care and crime.

The loss of these funds to the ECLI could substantially reduce the program or eliminate it – directly affecting some 100 low-income, single-parents in this community who are working their hardest to get an education and higher pay to support their families.

"I invite you to immediately contact your Congressional Representative and ask them to resist this provision in the CR," said James L. McNeil, Chairman of the Hopkins House Board of Trustees. "Certainly the wise men and women in our Congress can find better ways to reducing the federal budget than cutting short the hopes and dreams of our nations most vulnerable."

Citizens interested in supporting the Hopkins House ECLI program can locate their Congressional Representative by clicking on or cutting and pasting the following website link in their browser and entering your zip code: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/.

MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Cordes, 571-480-4095, LCordes(at)HopkinsHouse(dot)org

Founded in 1939, Hopkins House is a nonprofit child and family learning center that operates two preschools, one in the City of Alexandria and the other in Fairfax County, and the Early Childhood Learning Institute (ECLI) with locations in Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington County, Virginia. The organization serves over 270 individuals yearly.

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