February 07, 2022

Van Hollen, Hassan Introduce Legislation to Restore Full Funding for Educational and Early-Intervention Services for Children with Disabilities

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) joined Senator Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) in introducing legislation to restore full funding for educational and early-intervention services for children who experience disabilities. The Senators were joined by Senators Bob Casey (D-Pa.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), as well as Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Mark DeSaulnier (D-Calif.), and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.).

Children and families’ need for early intervention and pre-school special education services has only increased over the past several decades. However, federal investments have not kept pace with the number of students requiring these services. Programs through the Individuals with Disabilities Education (IDEA) Act that assist states with early intervention services for children with disabilities under five are critical to their social development and school readiness. Despite high demand for the services these programs provide, these programs are woefully underfunded. The Senators’ bill, the Funding Early Childhood is the Right IDEA Act, would assist states in providing this critical support by providing federal funding for these programs.  

“Every child in our nation deserves the opportunity to succeed. But for too long, the federal government has fallen short on its responsibility to provide sufficient resources to support children with disabilities. We must close this gap to protect our young and most vulnerable. That’s why I fought to include more funding for IDEA as part of the American Rescue Plan and have continued to fight for federal resources so every child can receive a first-rate education. But to truly fulfill the promises made under IDEA, we’ve got to do more. This legislation will ensure that Congress is able to fund early childhood education and intervention services for Maryland children with disabilities starting at a young age,” said Senator Van Hollen who has helped lead legislation to fully fund IDEA since his time in the House of Representatives.   

Senator Van Hollen has championed efforts to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive the support that they need to be fully included in their communities. Senator Van Hollen successfully secured $3 billion in dedicated federal funding to support students, young children, and infants with disabilities in the American Rescue Plan, including over $55 million in funding for Marylanders. Senator Van Hollen also introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act to ensure Congress finally meets its obligation to fully fund IDEA and help provide every American student with a quality education, as well as the Keep Our Promise to America’s Children and Teachers (PACT) Act to put Congress on a fiscally-responsible path to fully fund Title I and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) on a mandatory basis.

“For children who experience disabilities, early intervention is critical to give them the tools and resources that they need to succeed as they grow,” said Senator Hassan. “Yet, the current funding does not meet the demand from families across the country who are struggling to access these resources. Closing this funding gap is about making sure that all infants and toddlers are fully included and thrive.”