ACF Proposes New Child Care Regulations to Implement CCDBG Reauthorization
By Hannah Matthews
On December 18, 2015, the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new set of regulations to implement the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization. The 2014 bipartisan CCDBG reauthorization was a historic rewrite of the nation’s child care law intended to improve the health, safety, and quality of child care and improve the receipt of child care assistance for low-income families. The proposed rule seeks to implement the law’s dual-generation goals to support economic stability for low-income families and provide more continuous access to higher-quality care for children. The proposed rule offers ways in which states would meet new provisions in the law, including:
- Requiring basic health and safety training and on-site inspections for compliance with standards for all child care providers receiving CCDBG funds and comprehensive background checks for all child care providers.
- Ensuring that all children who receive CCDBG-funded child care are eligible for a minimum of 12 months of assistance regardless of temporary changes in parents’ employment or participation in education or training, as long as family income does not exceed the maximum federal eligibility level.
- Ensuring that provider payment rates are sufficient to assure equal access to comparable child care for children receiving CCDBG, compared to children who are not eligible for assistance.
- Requiring that payment practices for child care providers receiving CCDBG funds reflect generally accepted payment practices in the private child care market, such as by paying in a timely manner and paying based on enrollment or for a minimum number of days that children are absent.
- Building the supply of high-quality care for underserved children, including through the use of contracts for direct services.
- Establishing preservice and ongoing training and professional development standards for the child care workforce.
CLASP will be working intensely over the coming weeks to analyze the proposed rule. The public comment period, which will last for 60 days, allows for feedback on the proposed rule. CLASP will be working with the National Women’s Law Center to write comments, which will be available in January, on the NPRM. We will invite state and national organizations to sign-on to the comments at that time. CLASP staff remain available for technical assistance as policymakers and advocates move forward on state plan development and consider policy changes to implement the new law.