U.S. Senate Passes Major Child Care Bill

Washington, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Senate passed the House amendment to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, sending this important bill to the desk of President Obama for his signature. This legislation advances an essential work support program for low-income parents who struggle to find and keep employment that provides for their families. It’s been nearly 20 years since CCDBG was last reauthorized. We commend the Members of the House and Senate who reached bipartisan agreement on the bill and have voted to pass it.

The CCDBG Act of 2014 is an important step forward for improving the health and safety of child care. It will make crucial improvements to the program by allowing children to have more sustained access to child care assistance, helping parents stay and move up in their jobs, while also supporting children’s development by providing greater continuity of care. The updated law seeks to improve the quality of child care overall (especially for infants and toddlers). High quality infant-toddler care is particularly unaffordable for low-income families.

By authorizing spending above current levels, the updated law also reflects bipartisan consensus that additional resources are needed to achieve the goals of the legislation. While CLASP believes this consensus is extremely important and supports the legislation, we note that it will take significant additional resources—beyond these authorized levels—for states to implement new provisions and ensure low-income families are able to retain access to CCDBG. As of 2013, the number of children served in CCDBG had already fallen to a 15-year low due to insufficient federal funding. Expanding economic opportunity for low-income adults today and strengthening the foundation for their children’s success in school and beyond must be important priorities for our nation.

CLASP urges President Obama to sign the CCDBG Act of 2014 and looks forward to working with Congress to appropriate the funding necessary to implement the updated law’s important improvements.