Senate Moves Forward with Reauthorization of CCDBG

Sep 19, 2013

By Hannah Matthews and Stephanie Schmit

Yesterday, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions took another step toward seeing through the long overdue reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) through the passage of the bipartisan Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013. The Senate bill emphasizes improvements in health and safety, along with child care quality. While CCDBG in the past was primarily seen as a work support to help parents go to their jobs and attend school, the Senate bill recognizes the dual benefits of CCDBG as both a work support and a child development program. The bill incorporates a number of changes to the program, including the following:

Health and safety standards: States would have to ensure that providers serving children benefiting from CCDBG receive training in particular areas including prevention of SIDS and safe sleeping, first aid and CPR, and others.

Background Checks: The bill requires comprehensive criminal background checks for all licensed child care providers and all providers receiving CCDBG funds.

On-site monitoring:   Licensed providers would be subject to at least one pre-licensure inspection and at least one annual unannounced inspection to monitor health and safety standards.

Increased consumer education for parents: States would have to make available information about the child care services and quality of providers, along with making public the results of licensing and monitoring visits for eligible providers.

Annual eligibility determination: States must adopt 12 month authorization periods for families, regardless of changes in parent's work/education status or income, as long as family income does not exceed 85% of State median income, thus improving the continuity of care for children.

While some of the specifics differ, the bill addresses many of the same areas of health, safety and quality that were included in new proposed regulations for CCDBG introduced by the federal Office of Child Care in May. Those regulations are not yet final.

To date, there has been no sign that the House intends to take up CCDBG, which would be necessary for a reauthorization to be completed. Today's passage is a step in the process. Regardless of the outcome of this reauthorization bill, it's clear that federal policymakers, both in the administration and in the Senate, understand the dual role of CCDBG as a work support and child development program.  To that end, CLASP supports improvements to CCDBG that support the needs of children and parents, as well as increased investments to ensure more children have access to quality child care that helps prepare them for success in life and supports their parents' economic success.

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