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ACNJ Press Release

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For Immediate Release
December 10, 2014

Contact: Nancy Parello | (908) 399-6031 | nparello@acnj.org

New Jersey was one of 13 states to be awarded federal funds to expand preschool to children living in low- and moderate-income families, federal officials announced today.

These new federal dollars will be used to expand preschool or improve the quality of preschool for  roughly 2,000 4-year-olds over the next four years. New Jersey is expected to receive about $66.5 million during that time, with $17.5 million being awarded in the first year.

The grants are is part of President Obama’s Preschool for All Initiative. A total of 18 states received preschool funding, with six states receiving start-up funds and 13 states, including New Jersey, receiving expansion funds. The grants totaled more than $226 million, under the Preschool Development Grants program.

“This is incredible news for New Jersey’s children and families,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director, Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which has long supported preschool expansion. “This means that thousands more New Jersey children will have access to a quality preschool that can help them arrive at kindergarten ready to learn.”

While New Jersey’s 2008 school funding law mandates public preschool for thousands of low-income children living across the state, the expansion has never been fully funded, with just four districts receiving state dollars for preschool expansion since the law’s passage. New Jersey continues, however, to maintain model preschools in 31 of the state’s poorest school districts, under a 1998 Supreme Court decision.

“Our vision is for every child to have access to high-quality early education that can support school success,” Zalkind said. “New Jersey’s leaders should view this infusion of federal funds as an opportunity to augment this investment with state funds to finally keep the promise of preschool for thousands of children.”

Federal officials also announced today that five New Jersey child care agencies will receive a total of $8.9 million to help other non-Early Head Start centers improve the quality of care they provide to infants and toddlers. The following agencies were awarded these quality improvement grants:
  • Tri-County Community Action Agency, Inc., Bridgeton, $ 1.2 million
  • Center For Family Services, Inc., Camden, $1 million
  • The Leaguers, Newark, $2.3 million
  • Union Township Community Action Organization, Inc., Vauxhall, $1.1 million
  • Quality Care Resource and Referral Services, Inc., Vineland, $3.3 million

For more information on early learning in New Jersey, visit www.acnj.org.


Advocates for Children of New Jersey is a statewide, non-profit child action and research organization dedicated to ensuring that every child has the chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated.

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