Last week, Senator Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Burr (R-NC), Senator Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Alexander (R-TN) introduced a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the primary federal grant program that provides child care assistance for families and funds child care quality initiative. Child Care Aware® of America announced its support for the “Child Care Development and Block Grant Act of 2013” introduced today, which would reauthorize the program for the first time in over 17 years.
CCDBG is administered to states in formula block grants. States use the grants to subsidize child care for working families earning low incomes. Most of this assistance is administered through vouchers or certificates, which can be used by parents for the provider or program of their choice. In addition, the law requires no less than 4 percent of CCDBG funding in each state to be used for activities to improve the overall quality of child care for all children within a community (for example, Child Care Resource & Referral services, training for child care providers, infant and toddler specialists, quality rating systems, etc.).
Over 20 years ago, Department of Defense (DoD) child care was not accountable, quality was poor, and the safety of children was compromised. Congress passed the Military Child Care Act in 1989 to ensure that funds would be spent in an accountable manner, that care would be of minimum quality, and that child care would be provided in an affordable manner for families. Child Care Aware® of America calls on Congress to use the lessons of the military to reauthorize and strengthen CCDBG so that civilian families have access to affordable, quality child care in all communities. Congress should also ensure that funding is sufficient so that eligible children are able to receive assistance.
Under S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013 states would be required to:
- Conduct comprehensive background checks (state and federal fingerprint checks, sex offender registry check, and check of the child abuse and registry for all licensed, regulated, or registered providers that receive CCDBG funds.
- Inspect programs at least once before licensing, and at least one unannounced inspection annually. Reports of the inspections must also be posted electronically.
- Include a set of workforce and competency standards for providers, developed in consultation with the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care, using evidence-based training frameworks, incorporating states early learning and development guidelines, developmentally appropriate practices for different age groups, English learners, and children with disabilities.
- Training at a minimum would cover:
- Child Abuse Recognition and Prevention
- Developmentally Appropriate Practices
- Early mathematics and early language and literacy development to support development in young children
- Behavior management strategies
- Supporting children with disabilities
- Specialized care for infants and toddlers
- Raise the eligibility period to 12-months, helping to ensure continuity of care for children and families.
This reauthorization bill is a huge step to move the nation forward ensuring children are safe and receiving the best early learning experiences while in child care. Children’s early years are proven to be the most impactful time to create strong learners. This bill sets the standard all families expect for their children.
CCDBG has not been reauthorized in 17 years. This bill includes a great deal of measures to improve the quality of child care and ensure that all children in child care settings are safe. It is time to protect children in child care and promote their healthy development.
Click here to contact your Senator and urge them to cosponsor S. 1086 today!