In Focus: Child Care Subsidies

Jun 11, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

Senate Subcommittee Increases Federal Early Education Investments

By Hannah Matthews

Yesterday, as part of the 2015 appropriations process, the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies marked up a bill that includes more than $348 million in new funding for child care and early education programs. The Subcommittee approved:

  • A $145 million increase for Head Start, including $80 million for a cost-of-living increase for existing grantees and $65 million for Early Head Start, including funding for Early Head Start – Child Care Partnership grants.
  • A $100 million increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to help states improve quality while maintaining access for low-income families.
  • A $100 million increase for Preschool Development Grants to help states initiate or implement high-quality preschool programs for low-income families. 
  • And a $3.3 million increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C for services for infants and toddlers and their families.

This significant investment in the context of a very tight budget shows once again that many federal policymakers understand the critical importance of investing in our youngest children. The full Senate Appropriations committee is expected to take up the bill later this week. The House has not yet released a companion spending bill.

Read a summary of the Subcommittee bill>>

Jun 6, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

Expanding High-Quality Child Care for Babies: ACF Releases Funding Opportunity

By Hannah Matthews

Today, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) launched a historic funding opportunity to advance high-quality, comprehensive infant and toddler child care across the country. With $500 million available in Congress' FY 2014 spending bill, Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) Partnership and Early Head Start (EHS) Expansion grants will leverage EHS and child care dollars to expand access to full-day services for poor, young children. Funding will be made available within each state based on the number of young children in poverty. 

Eligible applicants may apply for funding through three opportunities:

  1. EHS-CC Partnerships. New or existing EHS grantees will partner with center-based child care or family child care homes to provide full-day, high-quality infant-toddler care that meets EHS standards.  Applicants proposing EHS-CC partnerships will receive the highest funding priority.
  2. Non-Partnership EHS Expansion. New or existing EHS grantees may expand the number of slots in traditional EHS centers or family child care homes. Funds may not be used to expand the EHS home-based model. Applicants will be expected to propose providing full-day, full-year services for a minimum of 48 weeks. Non-Partnership Expansion applicants must justify why an EHS-CC partnership is not the best approach for their community.
  3. Combination EHS Expansion and Partnerships.  New or existing grantees may expand the number of slots in EHS programs and also partner with center-based or family child care. Applicants proposing a combination of EHS expansion and EHS-CC partnership will receive priority over straight expansion models.

All grant funds, including EHS-CC Partnerships, Non-Partnership EHS Expansion, and Combination EHS Expansion and Partnerships may be used to serve children from birth to 36 months in center-based settings and children from birth to 48 months in family child care settings. All applicants must consider a birth to five continuum of high-quality early care and education in developing their proposals.  

All grantees are required to leverage existing local resources and collaborate with community organizations to provide the full array of comprehensive services to young children. EHS-CC Partnership grantees must ensure that a minimum of 25 percent of slots are filled by children who receive child care subsidies and are also EHS eligible. Applicants who propose filling at least 40 percent of their slots with children receiving subsidies will receive additional points.

Applicants who propose serving children who reside in high-poverty zip codes and federally designated Promise Zones will receive additional points.

CLASP will continue to review the funding opportunity and provide supporting information and resources. Applications for funding are due by August 20. The complete funding opportunity announcement is available here.

Mar 25, 2014  |  PERMALINK »

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

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.

Read more.

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