Congress Moves Forward on Child Care Reauthorization Bill

Sep 15, 2014

By Hannah Matthews

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, as amended. This legislation advances an essential work support program for low-income parents who struggle to find and keep employment that provides for their families. The bill is expected to be considered by the Senate in the coming days. It’s been nearly 20 years since CCDBG was last reauthorized.

The bipartisan CCDBG Act of 2014 is an important step forward for improving the health and safety of child care. It would make crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, which helps parents stay and move up in their jobs, while also supporting children’s healthy development by providing greater continuity of care.  The updated law seeks to improve the overall quality of child care (especially for infants and toddlers). High quality infant-toddler care is particularly unaffordable for low-income families.

While CLASP supports the legislation’s goals, we note that it will take significant additional resources—well beyond the bill’s authorized levels—for states to implement new provisions and ensure that low-income families retain access to CCDBG. As of 2012, the number of children served in CCDBG had already fallen to a 14-year low due to insufficient federal funding.

Reauthorizing CCDBG is a landmark moment in our long-term agenda to ensure poor and low-income children have access to high-quality child care options that meet their families’ needs. As the Senate takes its turn voting, CLASP looks forward to working with Congress to appropriate the funding necessary to implement the updated law’s important improvements.  We are also excited to work with states to rethink and reform their child care subsidy programs to improve child care quality and better support working families.

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