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Statement by
Senator Michael B. Enzi
Early Childhood Care and Education
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
March 27, 2001

Mr. Chairman. I want to thank you for holding this hearing on the importance of early childhood education and child care, and the federal role in improving the outcomes for children in early learning programs. I also want to thank the distinguished panelists for their testimony.

It is clear that today's hearing will provide the Committee with a better understanding of the shortfalls in our overall system. It is also intended to demonstrate what's happening in other countries that we might model here in the United States.

Child care and early childhood development are a high priority in Wyoming. Improving outcomes for children is a goal I share with my constituents.

Children in Wyoming comprise over 26% of the population, which ranks 14th in the nation for the percentage of kids in a state. This is a tremendous responsibility for Wyoming communities and I am committed to strengthening the federal partnership with states and localities as they fund early childhood programs and require high quality standards in the services children receive.

I was very pleased to see among the list of proposals for education and training grants, through the Wyoming Department of Family Services, ideas for using technology to bring expertise and top quality professional development into the state from existing sources. Not only was the University of Wyoming - whose reputation for distance learning is nationally known - among the proposers, child care providers were, too. Because child care and early education providers and facilities are licensed and regulated at the state level, I believe it is critical that all states do as Wyoming is doing in supporting high quality professional development to meet state standards.

While today's hearing is not intended to discuss specific federal initiatives, for example the Child Care Development Block Grant, Head Start or the Child Tax Credit, the valuable information we gather here will assist us in evaluating funding priorities as we proceed in the budget process and review the tax relief package proposed by the President and others.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.