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Strategy Name Strategy Type(s) Year Funding Amount Funding Source Features at a Glance
New Jersey Preschool Expansion Program
In 2022, New Jersey launched Phase I of the New Jersey Strategic Plan for Preschool Expansion to provide full-day, high-quality preschool to all three- and four-year-old children in the state. The two-part plan will guide the state in transitioning to universal preschool. In 2022, New Jersey served 20% of 3-year-olds and 29% of 4-year-olds through its state preschool programs. The forthcoming Phase II of the Strategic Plan, which will focus on implementation, will be released in fall 2023.  New Jersey’s commitment to transitioning to universal preschool accords with the state’s history of investing in early learning. The state's first publicly funded preschool program, the Abbott Preschool Program, was created as a result of a 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on school funding that mandated the creation of state-funded, high-quality preschool programs open to all 3- and 4-year-old children living in 31 of the state's highest poverty school districts. Today, New Jersey’s pre-K programs serve children in public-school, Head Start, and community-based programs; more than half of all participating children are served in Head Start or community-based settings. Starting and ongoing pay parity is required for community-based educators who have education and experience levels comparable to those serving in the public schools. For six years in a row, New Jersey has increased funding for preschool, including a $40 million increase for the 2022-2023 school year.  The state has already begun supporting the infrastructure for universal pre-K. In 2023, the state was awarded a $2.3 million federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) renewal grant to increase workforce capacity, and Governor Murphy announced $120 million in grants for preschool facilities.  Learn More: New Jersey Universal Preschool Sources:  New Jersey Department of Education (2022). New Jersey Strategic Plan for Preschool Expansion Phase I: The Foundation.  $120M Available for NJ Preschool Facility Expansions. (2023).  New Jersey Business Magazine.  National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). New Jersey.  National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). Fact Sheet – New Jersey Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study through Grade 10 (APPLES-10).
  • Expansion
    • Public Pre-K
      • Targeted Pre-K Policy (3-Year-Olds)
        • Targeted Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)
      $892 million in FY22 2022
      State-Funded Pre-K
      In 2022, New Jersey launched Phase I of the New Jersey Strategic Plan for Preschool Expansion to provide full-day, high-quality preschool to all three- and four-year-old children in the state. The two-part plan will guide the state in transitioning to universal preschool. In 2022, New Jersey served 20% of 3-year-olds and 29% of 4-year-olds through its state preschool programs. The forthcoming Phase II of the Strategic Plan, which will focus on implementation, will be released in fall 2023.  New Jersey’s commitment to transitioning to universal preschool accords with the state’s history of investing in early learning. The state's first publicly funded preschool program, the Abbott Preschool Program, was created as a result of a 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on school funding that mandated the creation of state-funded, high-quality preschool programs open to all 3- and 4-year-old children living in 31 of the state's highest poverty school districts. Today, New Jersey’s pre-K programs serve children in public-school, Head Start, and community-based programs; more than half of all participating children are served in Head Start or community-based settings. Starting and ongoing pay parity is required for community-based educators who have education and experience levels comparable to those serving in the public schools. For six years in a row, New Jersey has increased funding for preschool, including a $40 million increase for the 2022-2023 school year.  The state has already begun supporting the infrastructure for universal pre-K. In 2023, the state was awarded a $2.3 million federal Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five (PDG B–5) renewal grant to increase workforce capacity, and Governor Murphy announced $120 million in grants for preschool facilities.  Learn More: New Jersey Universal Preschool Sources:  New Jersey Department of Education (2022). New Jersey Strategic Plan for Preschool Expansion Phase I: The Foundation.  $120M Available for NJ Preschool Facility Expansions. (2023).  New Jersey Business Magazine.  National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). New Jersey.  National Institute for Early Education Research. (2023). Fact Sheet – New Jersey Abbott Preschool Program Longitudinal Effects Study through Grade 10 (APPLES-10).
      Child Care Facilities Improvement Program
      In 2022, New Jersey created the $54.5 million New Jersey Child Care Facilities Improvement Program to provide grants to New Jersey child care providers for facilities enhancements. The program is part of the Child Care Revitalization Fund, passed by the New Jersey State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in July 2021. Phase 1 of the program provides almost $15 million in grants of up to $200,000 to licensed child care centers in New Jersey toward the costs of facility improvements.The funds can be used to cover labor and materials costs for interior and exterior facility improvements, plus "soft" costs such as architect fees, permit fees, construction management, freight and shipping delivery, and environmental assessment. Learn More about New Jersey's facilities improvement program. Sources:New Jersey Economic Development Authority. (n.d.). New Jersey child care facilities improvement program.New Jersey Department of Human Services. (2022). New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy Launches NJ Child Care Facilities Improvement Grant.Child Care Aware of New Jersey. (n.d.). NJEDA child care facilities grant program.New Jersey Economic Development Authority. (n.d.). Child care facilities improvement pilot program.
      • Expansion
        • Physical Space and Facilities
        2022 $54.5 million
        State Dedicated Funding Stream
        One-time ARPA funded program was approved for Phase 2 to expand a facilities improvement grant for family child care providers.
        In 2022, New Jersey created the $54.5 million New Jersey Child Care Facilities Improvement Program to provide grants to New Jersey child care providers for facilities enhancements. The program is part of the Child Care Revitalization Fund, passed by the New Jersey State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy in July 2021. Phase 1 of the program provides almost $15 million in grants of up to $200,000 to licensed child care centers in New Jersey toward the costs of facility improvements.The funds can be used to cover labor and materials costs for interior and exterior facility improvements, plus "soft" costs such as architect fees, permit fees, construction management, freight and shipping delivery, and environmental assessment. Learn More about New Jersey's facilities improvement program. Sources:New Jersey Economic Development Authority. (n.d.). New Jersey child care facilities improvement program.New Jersey Department of Human Services. (2022). New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy Launches NJ Child Care Facilities Improvement Grant.Child Care Aware of New Jersey. (n.d.). NJEDA child care facilities grant program.New Jersey Economic Development Authority. (n.d.). Child care facilities improvement pilot program.
        New Jersey Enterprise Analysis System for Early Learning
        Since 2018, in partnership with multiple other state agencies, the New Jersey Early Learning Commission has hosted the New Jersey Enterprise Analysis System for Early Learning (NJ-EASEL), the state's early childhood integrated data system. Functioning as both a warehouse and a series of data-sharing agreements, the system shares demographic, program, workforce, and individual level data on early childhood programs and the children and families they serve. NJ-EASEL integrates data internally across multiple departments (e.g., Department of Education, Department of Children and Families, Department of Human Services, and Department of Health). The system does not yet have a public arm, but it supports the statewide longitudinal data system, NJEEDS. NJ-EASEL was built after Governor Chris Christie’s Executive Order No. 77 in 2011 established the Early Learning Commission. The system was launched in 2018 and has been funded by federal grants including Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5 (PDG B-5). Learn More: Birth to 3 Years: NJ Enterprise Analysis System for Early Learning Sources:New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System . (2021). 2021 Year in Review. LiBetti, A. & Fu, R. (2022). A State Scan of Early Learning Assessments and Data Systems. New America Early Childhood Policy Matters. (2022). Advancing Early Childhood Integrated Data in New Jersey - Early Childhood Policy Matters
        • Infrastructure to Support Early Childhood Systems
          • Data Systems
          2018
          • Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five
          • Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant
          Early Childhood Integrated Data System
          Since 2018, in partnership with multiple other state agencies, the New Jersey Early Learning Commission has hosted the New Jersey Enterprise Analysis System for Early Learning (NJ-EASEL), the state's early childhood integrated data system. Functioning as both a warehouse and a series of data-sharing agreements, the system shares demographic, program, workforce, and individual level data on early childhood programs and the children and families they serve. NJ-EASEL integrates data internally across multiple departments (e.g., Department of Education, Department of Children and Families, Department of Human Services, and Department of Health). The system does not yet have a public arm, but it supports the statewide longitudinal data system, NJEEDS. NJ-EASEL was built after Governor Chris Christie’s Executive Order No. 77 in 2011 established the Early Learning Commission. The system was launched in 2018 and has been funded by federal grants including Race to the Top–Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant and Preschool Development Grant Birth Through 5 (PDG B-5). Learn More: Birth to 3 Years: NJ Enterprise Analysis System for Early Learning Sources:New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System . (2021). 2021 Year in Review. LiBetti, A. & Fu, R. (2022). A State Scan of Early Learning Assessments and Data Systems. New America Early Childhood Policy Matters. (2022). Advancing Early Childhood Integrated Data in New Jersey - Early Childhood Policy Matters
          Pre-K Pay Parity
          New Jersey's first publicly funded pre-K program, the Abbott Preschool Program, was created as a result of a 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on school funding. Today, New Jersey's pre-K programs serve children in public-school, Head Start, and community-based programs; more than half of all participating children are served in Head Start or community-based settings. Starting and ongoing pay parity is required for community-based educators who have education and experience levels comparable to those serving in the public schools. Paid planning and professional development time parity is also required. Learn More: Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: New Jersey Pre-K Source: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley & The National Institute for Early Education Research. (2017). Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons from Seven States and Cities | New Jersey Pre-K.
          • Workforce
            • Pay Scales and Parity
            1998
            K-3 pay parity for community-based and public-school pre-K teachers
            New Jersey's first publicly funded pre-K program, the Abbott Preschool Program, was created as a result of a 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on school funding. Today, New Jersey's pre-K programs serve children in public-school, Head Start, and community-based programs; more than half of all participating children are served in Head Start or community-based settings. Starting and ongoing pay parity is required for community-based educators who have education and experience levels comparable to those serving in the public schools. Paid planning and professional development time parity is also required. Learn More: Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: New Jersey Pre-K Source: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley & The National Institute for Early Education Research. (2017). Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons from Seven States and Cities | New Jersey Pre-K.
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            Demographics Link copied!

            Demographics Data Scorecard

            State population

            9,261,699 Source U.S. Census, 2022

            Rural %

            6.2% Source U.S. Census, 2020

            Urban %

            93.8% Source U.S. Census, 2020

            Number of children 0–4

            519,195 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

            Poverty levels - children 0—8 below 200% poverty

            30% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

            Median family income among households with children

            $111,900.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

            Unemployment rate

            3.4% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022

            Unemployment rate of parents

            6% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

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

            69% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

            Children living in households with a high housing cost burden

            35% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

            Child Population by Race and Ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021

            Race and Ethnicity

            • American Indian and Alaska Native (0.49%)
            • Asian (4%)
            • Black or African American (3%)
            • Hispanic or Latino (7%)
            • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander (0.49%)
            • Two or more races (4%)
            • White, not Hispanic or Latino (83%)
            Year 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
            Governor D D D D D
            State House D D D D D
            State Senate D D D D D

            Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!

            Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023

            Public Pre-K Program Name

            New Jersey Preschool Expansion Program (formerly Abbott Preschool Program) Source: NIEER 2023

            Public Pre-K Program Name

            New Jersey Non-Abbott Early Childhood Program Aid (ECPA) Source: NIEER 2023

            Public Pre-K Program Name

            New Jersey Former Early Launch to Learning Initiative (ELLI) Source: NIEER 2023

            Universal or Targeted Pre-K Policy

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

            Universal or Targeted Pre-K Policy

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

            Universal or Targeted Pre-K Policy

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

            Early Childhood Education Programs (3-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

            Programs

            • Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (20%)
            • 3-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (5%)
            • Other/None (75%)

            Early Childhood Education Programs (4-Year-Olds) Source: NIEER 2023

            Programs

            • Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs (29%)
            • 4-Year-old Children Enrolled in Head Start (5%)
            • Other/None (66%)

            Workforce Link copied!

            2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Source CSCCE 2018, 2020

            Role

            • Child Care Workers
              $12.04 (2017, adjusted)
              $12.59 (2019)
            • Preschool Teachers
              $16.29 (2017, adjusted)
              $17.36 (2019)
            • Preschool or Child Care Center Directors
              $27.48 (2017, adjusted)
              $28.7 (2019)

            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 ($178.7)
            • CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($170.1)
            • CCDBG State Match ($33.9)
            • CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations - CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($935.6)
            • State-Funded Pre-K ($874.3)
            • MIECHV ($10.5)
            • IDEA Part C ($17.2)
            • IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($17.6)
            • TANF Early Learning and Care ($833.4)
            • Preschool Development Grant Birth ($14.5)