President Signs Child Care Bill Bringing Major Changes to Subsidy Programs
By Hannah Matthews
After moving through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives with strong, bipartisan support, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 was signed into law today by the President. This is a milestone for the CCDBG law, which has not been updated in nearly 20 years and that governs both state child care assistance for low-income working parents and state efforts to improve child care quality. CLASP commends all those in the House, Senate and Administration who worked to make this bill become reality.
The CCDBG Act of 2014 is an important step forward for improving the health, safety, and quality of child care. It makes crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, supporting greater continuity of care, and helping parents stay and move up in their jobs.
Achieving a new vision of child care for low-income children – one in which child care is safer, better quality, and more affordable for parents – requires both improved policies and a significant infusion of dollars. Yet, the funding increases authorized in the bill are woefully inadequate to support implementation of new provisions and retain access for families. Even before this reauthorization, state child care subsidy systems show declining enrollment with the number children served in CCDBG having fallen to a 15-year low. The goals of the legislation will be impossible to achieve unless we stem the tide on declining participation and take seriously the need for significant investments in child care at the federal, state, and local levels.
CLASP looks forward to working with Congress to appropriate the funding necessary to implement the updated law’s important improvements and with states to implement new policies in ways that best support low-income working parents and their children.