Early Childhood Programs:

Multiple Programs and Overlapping Target Groups

HEHS-95-4FS: Published: Oct 31, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on preschool and child care programs for children from birth through the age of 5, focusing on the: (1) total number of federally funded early childhood programs, excluding Department of Defense programs; (2) budget authority for key early childhood education or child care programs; (3) number of children served by these key programs; (4) eligibility criteria for the key programs; and (5) differences among key programs' services.

GAO found that: (1) in fiscal years 1992 and 1993, the government funded 93 early childhood programs; (2) 22 key programs provided services to at least 2 million children under age 5 and spent at least $3.66 billion in fiscal year (FY) 1992; (3) the 12 programs that could not provide specific data on children under age 5 had total budget authority of $3.71 billion for children of all ages; (4) many programs targeted the same population of children, with 13 programs targeting economically disadvantaged children; (5) the programs' varying eligibility criteria led to disruptions in services due to slight changes in a child's family status; (6) in FY 1992, 31 programs provided education and child development services for young children and 27 provided child care, health referral, and social services; and (7) the key early childhood programs varied in the comprehensiveness of the services they provided.

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