Florida’s Early Learning Program to Receive $105 Million in Stimulus Funds (04/17/09)

For Immediate Release 
April 17, 2009   

Governor's Press Office 850-488-5394



Florida’s Early Learning Program to Receive $105 Million in Stimulus Funds

~Funds to provide quality child care so parents can work ~

www.FlaRecovery.com  –  www.FloridaJobs.org  

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist, continuing his efforts to reinvigorate Florida’s economy, today announced the availability of $105 million in federal economic stimulus funds over three years for Florida’s Early Learning program.  The stimulus funding will be distributed to the state’s Early Learning Coalitions by the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation to provide additional child care opportunities for income-eligible parents and help enhance the quality of child care services to children and families. 

“These federal stimulus dollars will help our preschoolers develop the skills they need to succeed while helping parents maintain employment and achieve financial independence,” Governor Crist said.  “Our state also benefits through the creation and retention of jobs for child-care providers.”

“Under the leadership of Governor Crist, the first $32 million of the $105 million in early learning federal stimulus dollars are being distributed throughout the state today to provide quality child care services to thousands of Florida’s children,” said Interim Director Cynthia Lorenzo.  “These funds are critical to sustaining low-income working families as well as supporting 15,000 child care providers to help reinvigorate Florida’s economy. The balance of the funds will be distributed next year to sustain these important services.”

The $105 million available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act includes $80 million for areas of the state that have the greatest need, costs and demands for early learning and child care services.  These funds will provide an estimated 20,000 slots for children of low-income families in those high-need areas of the state.  There are currently 58,000 children on the state’s waiting list for early learning programs.

The Recovery Act also includes $25 million to enable the agency to maintain and enhance services to eligible families, providers and job seekers through improved technology, training and curriculum development among other opportunities.   

For additional details and contact information for the state’s Early Learning Coalitions, please visit http://www.floridajobs.org/earlylearning/CoalitionDirectory.htm.

The federal stimulus funding for the upcoming state fiscal year is subject to appropriation by the Florida Legislature, and Governor Crist looks forward to working with the Legislature to obtain the necessary approval.  For more information about Florida’s use of the federal recovery dollars made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please visit www.FlaRecovery.com.
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