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Hirono Announces Over $6.6 Million to Improve Early Childhood Programs and Services in Hawaii

~ Funding is used to provide working families, and their children, with access to high-quality early childhood programs ~

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) announced that the University of Hawaii (UH) will receive over $6.6 million in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B-5) program. This funding will support existing child care programs in Hawaii and efforts to better connect and align child care programs and services throughout the state.

“In 2023, federal and state early learning opportunities will serve nearly 9,000 children and families in Hawaii,” said Senator Hirono. “These programs provide supportive environments to build a strong foundation for our keiki and set them up to lead successful lives. Expanding access to high-quality, affordable early childhood programs has long been a priority of mine, which is why I am glad to announce this important investment. This funding will help children and families continue to access quality child care and early learning programs.”

Senator Hirono has continued to play an important role in advocating for PDG B-5. Earlier this year, she, along with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tina Smith (D-MN), led 42 of their colleagues in sending a letter asking the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, to substantially increase funding for PDG B-5 and other early childhood programs such as the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, Head Start, and Early Head Start. Previously, in 2018, she also led a letter of support for the Hawaii State Department of Human Services to receive an initial grant through PDG B-5. In the letter, she advocated for funding to assist Hawaii’s plans to provide new and improve existing programing and services for children from birth to age five.

PDG B-5 helps states improve their child care and early learning programs. The funding is used to provide working families, and their children, with access to high-quality early childhood programs. Specifically, the grants:

  • Help improve quality and safety across child care programs;
  • Improve state collaboration across multiple early childhood programs, systems, and agencies; and
  • Assist states in collecting data to enable programs to run more effectively and efficiently.

Senator Hirono is a strong advocate for expanding access to early childhood programs. In April, she and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Casey reintroduced the Child Care for Working Families Act, which would significantly increase access to child care and preschool for working and middle class families. In 2021, Senator Hirono helped pass the American Rescue Plan Act, which included $39 billion for child care programs in the United States—including nearly $130 million to support Hawaii child care programs. As Hawaii Lieutenant Governor, Senator Hirono led the development of the Hawaii Pre-Plus Program, which expanded access to preschool programs in the state.