MARYLAND (WDVM) — All of Maryland’s congressional delegation announced nearly $9 million in additional funding for early childhood education on Wednesday.

The funding came from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through a program supporting state-led advancement of early childhood education. The grant is meant to focus on increasing equity among students, supporting children’s mental, developmental, and behavioral health, and creating strategies for families dealing with adversity.

“Expanding access to early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make in Maryland’s future,” Maryland’s congressional leaders said. “These high-impact programs make a tremendous difference in closing the achievement gap and put our children on a path to academic and career success. Our delegation remains committed to strengthening educational opportunities across our state and ensuring that families from every community can access these highly impactful programs.”

The $9 million dollars is the second installment in a 3-year $26.8 million grant awarded to the Maryland State Department of Education in January 2020.