Senate Passes First CCDBG Reauthorization in Eighteen Years

By Hannah Matthews

On March 14, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (S. 1086) by a vote of 96-2. Child care assistance is an essential work support for low-income parents who struggle to find and keep employment to provide for their families.

The CCDBG Act of 2014 is an important step forward for improving the health and safety of child care. The Act seeks to improve the quality of child care overall, with a well-placed focus on improving the quality of infant and toddler care. The bill makes crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, which helps parents stay and move up in their jobs while also supporting children’s development by providing more continuity in their child care arrangement.

CLASP supports efforts to improve the health, safety, and quality of child care and to make child care assistance programs more family-friendly by reducing the hoops families have to jump through to remain eligible for subsidies. We also note that increasing resources for child care must be a top Congressional priority. Our most recent analysis shows spending on child care assistance at a 10-year low. Insufficient federal funds have led states to make reductions in their child care programs, with the number of children served falling to a 14-year low.  States will need additional resources to meet the goals of the legislation and to ensure that low-income families are able to retain access to this vital program. Expanding opportunity for low-income adults today and strengthening the foundation for their children’s success in school and in life are critical to creating healthy communities and ensuring a better future for our nation.

The focus of CCDBG reauthorization efforts will now turn to the House of Representatives, where a hearing will be held on CCDBG later this month.  As of yet, there is not a companion bill in the House.