PUMP supports access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education for all children, including through early learning, out-of-school time, and child care programs. PUMP has advocated for expanded access to and funding for these programs through a number of initiatives.
Our kids. Our commitment. logo

Our Kids. Our Commitment.

PUMP was a primary sponsor of Our kids. Our commitment., a 2018 ballot initiative that aimed to create a new government department in Allegheny County with a dedicated funding stream that would advance early learning, out-of-school time, and healthy food access for all children in our county. That ballot initiative lost narrowly, but widespread community support led to further research around the issue. A working group convened by County Executive Rich Fitzgerald recommended the formation of a Department of Children Initiatives in 2019. 

County Executive Rich Fitzgerald officially proposed the new department in his 2021 budget, which provided “year zero” funding. In May 2021, Rebecca Mercatoris was announced as the first director of the Department of Children Initiatives. The department “provides and coordinates resources for, leverages partnerships with, and promotes access to high quality early learning and out-of-school time programs for all children in Allegheny County.”

PUMP and partners from the Our kids. Our commitment. campaign continue to lobby for sufficient funding for the department to achieve its promise and intent.

Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA logos

Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA

PUMP is an endorsing organization of two statewide coalitions:

  • Start Strong PA: Advocates for high-quality, affordable child care for all children from birth to three years old in Pennsylvania
  • Pre-K for PA: Advocates for high-quality, affordable pre-k for all children from three to four years old in Pennsylvania

Together, these organizations have led advocacy efforts to increase early learning funding in the state budget and address the ongoing child care crisis in Pennsylvania that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care centers face staffing shortages and low wages, while nearly 26,000 children — based on a survey conducted in August and September 2021 — sit on waiting lists. The child care crisis not only impacts kids who need high-quality early learning, but it also impacts the centers that provide care and the families that depend on reliable, affordable child care to be able to work.

PUMP invites everyone to join with us and take individual action at Start Strong PA and Pre-K for PA.

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