The Children’s Center Welcomes Governor Wolf and Local Leaders

Wolf, Local Leaders Mark 2021-22 Pre-K Expansion

ERIE, PA (September 9, 2022) – Pre-K Counts provider The Children’s Center/Volunteers of America welcomed Governor Tom Wolf and local leaders today to mark the $79 million pre-k expansion included in the final 2022–23 Pennsylvania budget.

Governor Wolf discussed the importance of the continued investment in high-quality pre-k in PA with community leaders and visited with the students and teachers at the center. The historic $79 million increase included in the final 2022-23 state budget will afford more than 2,300 additional children to attend pre-k in the upcoming school year.

“Early childhood learning programs are good for children, but they’re also good for families and our economy, too,” said Governor Wolf. “Think about it – parents and caregivers rely on affordable, accessible childcare so they can go to work. When we ensure that high-quality early learning programs are available for children, we are making a direct investment in our communities and our commonwealth’s economy. At a time of record inflation and families feeling the pinch of soaring costs for childcare, these investments are even more critically important.”

Joining Governor Wolf in discussion was Senator Pat Browne; Representative Mike Schlossberg; Representative Peter Schweyer; Betty Druckenmiller, director of The Children’s Center/Volunteers of America; Kari King, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children; and Rasbell Espiritu, the parent of a pre-k child.

“Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children and the Pre-K for PA campaign deeply appreciate the bipartisan support for pre-k programs in the state, including the leadership of Governor Wolf, Senator Browne, Representative Schlossberg and Representative Schweyer,” said Kari King, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children. “Their support shows that policymakers understand these programs’ value and efficacy: a recent study of Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts showed enrolled children outperformed their kindergarten peers who did not have access.

“It’s clear that high-quality, publicly funded pre-k pays dividends and is a smart return on investment.”

“I’m thrilled that Governor Wolf and our local state officials are visiting our program today to mark the $79 million increase for more of Pennsylvania’s three- and four-year-olds to attend Pre-K Counts and Head Start,” said Betty Druckenmiller, director of The Children’s Center/Volunteers of America. “This is an important investment in our community as we continue to see a high demand for high-quality early learning programs.”

A study by the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill confirmed that the Commonwealth’s investment in pre-k is paying dividends for the children fortunate enough to access pre-k through Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts program. In language and math skills, the study showed that these kids outperformed their kindergarten peers who did not enjoy access – an advantage that equated to four to five months of learning gains, which is a substantial difference in development at that age.

Pre-K for PA is an issue campaign supported by individuals and organizations across Pennsylvania who believe that investing in our children is the right choice and an urgent necessity. Our vision is that every 3- and 4-year-old in Pennsylvania will have access to high-quality pre-k. For more information

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