Final Child Care Rule Is Important Step to Accessibility, Affordability

This statement can be attributed to Indivar Dutta-Gupta, president and executive director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

Washington, D.C., February 29, 2024—Today, the Biden Administration has taken an important step in addressing the child care challenges facing families and providers and that are particularly acute for families paid the lowest wages. Today’s final rule on Improving Child Care Access, Affordability, and Stability in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is the administration’s latest effort in a strategy to support the families who need care and the providers they depend on.

CLASP applauds the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services for finalizing this rule, which is projected to lower costs for 100,000 families by capping co-payments to 7 percent of their income. This cap could save families an average of over $200 monthly in states that don’t yet cap co-pays. The rule also encourages states to implement “presumptive eligibility,” which allows families immediate access to care while they submit documentation to verify their eligibility. In addition, the rule directs states to streamline and speed up their processes for paying child care providers. This change will improve the financial stability of 140,000 child care providers and incentivize more providers to participate in the Child Care and Development Block Grant program.

Through this rule, the federal government is playing a crucial role in supporting the needs of families and providers. Now, it’s up to the states to take advantage of the new opportunities in the rule’s provisions. For states to take full advantage of these opportunities, it’s incumbent on policymakers and advocates to continue fighting for additional public investment in child care, including much-needed federal funding.

We support these changes and will work with states and the federal government to ensure they will increase access to child care for families, better support providers and the workforce, and reduce the administrative burden on state child care agencies. The broader child care agenda is far from done, but today’s final rule is an important step in the right direction.