United Way of Bucks County today announced a significant expansion of its Pre-K Counts program, offering greater access to free high-quality early childhood education county-wide.
Pre-K Counts provides quality early education to 3- and 4-year-old children at no cost to eligible families.
Pennsylvania’s Office of Child Development and Early Learning awarded United Way an unprecedented $4,490,000 to expand Pre-K Counts. This will allow roughly 450 children county-wide to benefit from free, high-quality Pre-K – a 44% increase from the 2022-23 school year. The program will be offered at 16 of the highest quality early education sites in Bucks County.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing Pre-K Counts to more families,” said Kristi Moreno, Impact Director for Pre-K Education at United Way of Bucks County. “This funding allows us to extend our reach even further, setting a greater number of children in our community up for lifelong success.”
Expansion sites were added strategically, according to Moreno. “We want Pre-K to be accessible both in terms of money and distance. We tried to be sure that no family would be more than about 15 minutes from a United Way Pre-K Counts partner,” said Moreno.
The nonprofit notes that the increased funding comes at a critical time. According to the United for ALICE research center, the number of households that are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) is increasing. About 7% of Bucks County households are below the poverty line, but another 27% are now ALICE, an increase of 12.5% over the past 2 years.
“Pre-K Counts is absolutely crucial for ALICE. It helps kids enter Kindergarten ready to learn, but it also helps more Bucks County parents get to work. This is a win for kids, parents, employers, K-12 schools, and our whole community,” said Marissa Christie, President & CEO at United Way of Bucks County.
Due to the increase in slots, the United Way is now accepting additional applications for the 2023-24 school year, but they must be filled quickly to remain in Bucks County. Interested community members should visit www.uwbucks.org/prekhelp as soon as possible.
United Way PreK Counts slots are now available in Bensalem, Bristol, Churchville, Doylestown, Holland, Langhorne, Kintnersville, Morrisville, Penndel, Southampton, and Quakertown.