Why CCDBG Matters to Low-Income Working Parents and Their Children

Mar 25, 2014

CLASP Executive Director Olivia Golden testified on March 25, 2014 before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education during the hearing: “Foundation for Success: Strengthening the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program.” Following is the testimony she submitted.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant or CCDBG is an essential work support for low-income parents. Every day it provides access to child care for 1.4 million children whose parents could not otherwise afford the high costs of care.

For these parents, working long hours for very little pay, help with child care is necessary to be able to work and meet other basic expenses.  The average annual costs of center-based care for a 4 year old range from $4,515 in Tennessee to $6,448 in Indiana to $10,664 in Minnesota to $12,355 in New York. In comparison, a full-time minimum wage employee earns only $15,080 annually—less than the federal poverty level for a family of three. Child care budgets don’t allow for much flexibility. The bulk of child care fees are personnel costs and yet child care providers make very low wages.

Parents are working hard and yet are barely able to make ends meet. Over 30 percent of poor children and over half of low-income children (in families earning less than twice the federal poverty level) live with at least one parent who is employed full-time, year-round. Higher income families with young children on average spend 8 percent of their household income on child care while poor families who don’t get any help spend 36 percent.

For these low-income working parents, child care assistance helps them get and keep a job increases earnings, and strengthens their economic health and security.

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