Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!

Innovation Name Innovation Type Innovation Subtype Features at a Glance Strategy Summary
Delaware Purchase of Care Program Workforce Benefits

15 percent increase to rates paid to child care providers

In June 2022, Delaware’s Joint Finance Committee voted to add $20.07 million to Delaware's Purchase of Care program (POC), which is the state’s subsidy for child care for low-income families. This investment includes a 15 percent increase to the rates paid to child care providers who accept POC. The funds for POC will be ongoing and included in the operating budget, rather than contingent or one-time funding. Furthermore, House Bill 377, signed by Governor John Carney in October 2022, establishes that the Delaware Department of Education will conduct an annual study on early education professionals to further develop a plan to support the workforce.

learn more: first state pre-k

Sources: First State Pre-K. (June 2022). Early Child Care Budget Update

Rodel. (July 2022). The Education GA Ride Again.

Delaware General Assembly. (October 2022). House Substitute 1 for House Bill 377.

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Demographics Link copied!

State population

1,018,396 Source U.S. Census, 2022

Rural %

17.4% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Urban %

82.6% Source U.S. Census, 2020

Number of children age 0-4

53,501 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty

39% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Median family income among households with children

$82,100.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Unemployment rate

4.4% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

Unemployment rate of parents

5% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force


Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

31% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

Race and Ethnicity

  • American Indian and Alaska Native (.5%)
  • Asian (4%)
  • Black or African American (26%)
  • Hispanic or Latino (17%)
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.5%)
  • Two or More Races (6%)
  • White, not Hispanic or Latino (47%)
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Political Landscape Link copied!

Source: Ballotpedia 2023

Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

Public pre-K program name

Delaware Early Childhood Assistance Program (ECAP) Source: NIEER 2023

Universal or targeted pre-K policy

Targeted Pre-K Policy (3- and 4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

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Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (2%)
  • 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (5%)
  • Other/none (93%)
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Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023


  • 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (5%)
  • 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (6%)
  • Other/none (88%)
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Workforce Link copied!

2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020


  • Child care workers
  • Preschool teachers
  • Preschool or child care center directors
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Funding Sources Link copied!

Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022

Funding source

  • Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($20.8)
  • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($25.4)
  • CCDBG State Match ($2.6)
  • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($146.0)
  • State-Funded Pre-K ($6.1)
  • MIECHV ($3.7)
  • IDEA Part C ($3.6)
  • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($2.0)
  • TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($87.9)
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Funding acronyms: CCDBG: Child Care and Development Block Grant; CARES Act: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act; CRRSE Act: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations; ARPA: American Rescue Plan Act; CCDF: Child Care and Development Fund; MIECHV: Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program; IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

The COVID Funding Cliff

All federal COVID relief allocations, including funding authorized by the CARES, CRRSE, and ARPA bills, must be fully spent by September 2024. An analysis from the Century Foundation shows this loss of funds could cause more than 3 million children to lose access to child care nationwide – including more than 18,000 children in Delaware.