BREAKING: President Obama Announces Landmark Child Care Proposal

Fresh off the State of the Union, President Obama announced a landmark proposal to help all working families with young children afford child care.

The full Fact Sheet from the White House on the new child care proposal is copied below:

FACT SHEET: Helping All Working Families with Young Children Afford Child Care

“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have — it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”

– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

Helping working Americans meet the needs of their jobs and their families is a key part of the President’s plan to bolster and expand the middle class. Access to high-quality child care and early education not only promotes a child’s development, but it also helps support parents who are struggling to balance work and family obligations. A safe, nurturing environment that enriches children’s development is critical to working families and is one of the best investments we can make in our economy. Yet today, a year of child care costs more than a year of in-state tuition at most colleges – putting a significant strain on parents.

Ensuring that children have access to high quality and affordable early childhood programs can help children prepare for school and succeed in later life while strengthening parents’ ability to go to work, advance their career, and increase their earning potential. Research shows that money spent on young children is an effective investment, yielding benefits immediately to parents and for many decades to come for the children. For example, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ report on the Economics of Early Childhood indicate that investments in high-quality early education generate economic returns of over  $8 for every $1 spent.

Today, President Obama outlined his plan to make affordable, quality child care available to every working and middle-class family with young children. His plan includes:

  • Making a landmark investment in the Child Care and Development Fund that helps every eligible family with young children afford high-quality child care.
  • Tripling the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child.
  • Creating a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique challenges in finding quality care, such as those in rural areas or working non-traditional hours.

Two years ago, the President called for a continuum of high-quality early learning for America’s children – including support for children and their parents beginning prenatally with evidence-based home visitation for young children and new and expecting parents and continuing through high-quality preschool for America’s 4-year olds. Over the past two years, the federal government, states, philanthropists, and business leaders have invested nearly $3 billion in high-quality preschool and early education. Today’s announcement builds on these continuing efforts to make high-quality early education and child care available for all. These investments to expand and strengthen child care and early education programs complement the Administration’s other efforts to help working families, including offering workers the opportunity to earn paid sick and family leave, a higher minimum wage, and equal pay for women.

To read more about the proposal, check out the full fact sheet at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/01/21/fact-sheet-helping-all-working-families-young-children-afford-child-care

 

 

Quality, Affordable Child Care Highlighted in President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union

Last night, President Barack Obama made child care a front and center issue in his State of the Union address. The need for quality child care was the first issue mentioned by the President in addressing ways to move America forward.

Our most recently released Parents and the High Cost of Child Care Report reveals that working families continue to grapple with astronomical child care costs and lack of quality options ( http://usa.childcareaware.org/costofcare).

Here’s the excerpt from the President’s remarks on child care quality and affordability:

“Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007. But here’s the thing – those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.

Because families like Rebekah’s still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn’t asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.

In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet – tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them.

That’s what middle-class economics is – the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success – we want everyone to contribute to our success.

So what does middle-class economics require in our time?

First – middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement – and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.

Here’s one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority – so this country provided universal childcare. In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America – by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.”

Prior to the speech last night some of the proposals were released in greater detail, including the proposal around the child care tax credit.  To read more about the proposal, check out our Policy Blog on it here: http://policyblog.usa.childcareaware.org/2015/01/20/president-to-announce-new-initiatives-to-make-child-care-more-affordable-in-tonights-state-of-the-union/

Child Care Costs Front and Center at SOTU

When President Obama discussed Rebekah and her family and their difficulty in affording child care, shared with many Americans, he mentioned an issue that affects families regardless of geography or income.

What we know is that child care is a major expense in family budgets, often exceeding the cost of housing, college tuition, food, and transportation.  Unreliable child care also hurts business.  Lack of child care options lead to employee absences, costing businesses $3 billion annually in the US.

In 2013, in 30 states and the District of Columbia, the average annual average cost for an infant in center-based care was higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a four-year public college.

In Minnesota, which President Obama specifically cited child care costs in comparison to both mortgage and tuition, the cost of child care for an infant in a child care center averaged almost $14,000 per year, for a 4-year old it averaged over $10,000, and $10,468 for average tuition and fees at a public college*  For Rebekah and Minnesotans alike, there is a 33.7% difference between cost of college and cost for infant center-based care.

This past year has seen unprecedented steps forward toward providing a safe, quality setting for our children, with a bi-partisan, bi-cameral child care bill becoming law.  While we’re pushing forward on quality, we must not ignore that families across the country, regardless of geography or income, struggle to pay for child care so that they can go to work.

Quality, affordable child care provides critical support to our nation’s workforce and is one of the earliest learning settings our children will enter.

ACF Announces Preliminary Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership Grantees

From the Department of Health and Human Services:photosb

“HHS’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) today announced preliminary winners for its Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships grants to improve the quality of existing child care programs and expand access to high-quality care for infants and toddlers.

Thus far, 234 preliminary selected grant applicants in 49 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands will receive over $435 million in funding to help offer care and services to ensure that infants and toddlers have access to Early Head Start services in their communities.”

To read the release from the Administration for Children and Families, click here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/media/press/new-hhs-grants-increase-improve-learning-opportunities-for-young-children

To see the full list of preliminary EHS-CC grantees, click here: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ecd/early-learning/ehs-cc-partnerships/grant-awardees

Appropriators Release Spending Bill for Fiscal Year 2015 (CRomnibus Edition)

Tonight, Senator Mikulski and Rep. Hal Rogers announced a spending agreement for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2015.  See the excerpt from the official summary released by the appropriators below for early childhood programs:

“The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee today released highlights of the fiscal year 2015 omnibus appropriations bill, “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015,” that totals $1.014 trillion in discretionary spending in compliance with the bipartisan Murray-Ryan budget agreement. The bill funds the government through
September 30, 2015.

In addition, it includes: $5.4 billion of emergency funding to prepare for and respond to the Ebola outbreak; $73.7 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations; and $6.5 billion of disaster aid.”

“Supports Continued Investment in High-Quality Early Childhood Care and Education
High-quality early childhood care and education has been proven to have positive, lasting effects for children and families.  It also supports the nation’s long-term economic security by preparing our next generation of workers, entrepreneurs and business leaders. This bill supports the key federal investments in early childhood care and education, for children and their families from before birth through age five, including:

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)—The bill includes $2.435 billion, a $75 million increase, for the CCDBG. In November, Congress overwhelmingly passed the CCDBG Act of 2014, the first reauthorization of the program since 1996. This reauthorization included key updates and reforms, including requiring states to strengthen health and safety standards. Improving the quality of child care programs while maintaining working families’ access to quality child care options will require significantly more resources, but the increase in funding for the CCDBG is an important step in helping states implement these key reforms and support working families’ access to quality, affordable child care.

Head Start—The bill includes $8.598 billion for Head Start, maintaining support for key investments in Head Start and Early Head Start, including Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships, made last year.

Preschool Development Grants—The agreement provides $250 million to continue support for Preschool Development Grants. The Departments of Education and Health and Human Services (HHS) awards $250 million to states through grants designed to help states initiate or implement high-quality public preschool programs for low- and moderate-income families. The funding in this bill will support the second year of what is expected to be four year awards. Research is clear that the benefits of high-quality early childhood education programs exceed costs by varying but significant amounts”

The full summary can be found here: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/sites/default/files/12_09_14%20fy15%20omnibus%20summary.pdf

The full text of the bill can be found here: http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20141208/CPRT-113-HPRT-RU00-HR83sa.pdf

CCDBG Moving Forward – Helpful Resources on the New Law

teaserWith the signing of S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 into law, now the focus will shift to ensuring that those across the country which these changes will directly impact, are aware of when and how this law will affect them.  In order to assist states and child care resource and referral agencies across America, Child Care Aware of America will be providing resources to help provide a better understanding of what’s in the law and what changes are going to be necessary to be made.

In addition to our four-part CCDBG Moving Forward Webinar Series, which focused on implementation and concluded in early-November, Child Care Aware of America is excited to share new resources on CCDBG, including:

NEW RESOURCES for Implementation of new CCDBG Law:

CCDBG Moving Forward Resources:

One-Pagers/Subject Briefs:

Summary and Background
Timeline for Implementation
Impact on Child Care Resource and Referral Services
The Quality Set-Aside
Quality Rating and Improvement Systems
Health, Nutrition, and Obesity Prevention

CCDBG Moving Foward Webinar Series Slides:

The history and current status of S.1086
What S.1086 means for families & child care providers
What S.1086 means for quality set aside and QRIS
Funding, appropriations, & timelines for implementation

To view any of the recorded webinars, check out our Youtube page:

http://www.youtube.com/user/CCAofAmerica

and much more to come!

Coming Soon!

  • Information on Funding and Appropriations
  • One-pager on Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Question about the New Law
  • White Papers on implementation and challenges

BREAKING: President Obama Signs CCDBG Reauthorization Bill into Law

Today, President Barack Obama signed S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 into law.

The legislation most recently passed the United States Senate by a vote of 88-1 on Monday, November 17, 2014 following a multi-year process taking the bill through both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  In June 2013, Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced S.1086, then titled the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013, a bill that would reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant program for the first time in almost two decades, while including some baseline safety and quality measures.

S.1086 includes measures to:

  • Promote quality child care by increasing state-level investments in activities to improve the quality of care, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.
  • Strengthen health and safety requirements in child care programs and providers.
  • Improve access to child care by expanding eligibility for participating families and helping families connect with quality programs that meet their needs

Later in 2013, in September, S.1086 passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee by an unanimous consent voice vote, sending the bill to the full Senate for consideration.  In March of 2014, after days of debate and considering amendments (18 in total adopted), the Senate passed S.1086 by a vote of 96-2, sending the bill forward to the House of Representatives for consideration.  After months of investigation, discussion, and negotiation, leaders on the House Education and the Workforce Committee and the Senate HELP Committee announced an agreement on an amended version of S.1086, which would pass the House of Representatives the following Monday, sending the bill back to the Senate for final consideration.

After experiencing procedural roadblocks in mid-September, preventing a potential unanimous consent agreement, the Senate moved forward to consideration of the amended S.1086 on November 13, 2014, passing  a cloture vote by a 96-1 margin, setting up the final vote on Monday, November 17, 2014.

Nick Vucic, Lynette Fraga, Senator Burr, Michelle McCready

Child Care Aware(R) of America presenting Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) with an award in honor of dedicated work on CCDBG Reauthorization earlier this year. From left to right: Nick Vucic, Lynette Fraga, Senator Burr, Michelle McCready

Helpful resources for understanding impact of CCDBG Reauthorization becoming law:

For more information on CCDBG Reauthorization: http://usa.childcareaware.org/public-policy/core-issues/ccdbg-reauthorization

Including:

- One page Summary of House-Passed S.1086

- Full text of S.1086

- One page summary of the program

For links to recordings for all four of our CCDBG Moving Forward Webinar Series: Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 11.25.12 AM

http://www.youtube.com/CCAofAmerica

As we continue to move forward assessing and analyzing the impact of S.1086 becoming law, stay tuned to Child Care Aware of America, as we will be providing frequent resources on the impact and implications of implementation.

BREAKING: Congress Sends Bi-Partisan Child Care Bill to President

For the first time in 18 years, Congress has passed CCDBG Reauthorization, as the bill now awaits President Obama’s signature to become law.

Today, the Senate voted to pass S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 led by Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC) and Representatives John Kline (R-MN), George Miller (D-CA), Todd Rokita (R-IN), and David Loebsack (D-IA)

In September, the House approved the measure by a voice vote, sending the amended version of the bill the Senate originally passed 96-2 in March 2014.

S.1086 includes measures to:

  • Promote quality child care by increasing state-level investments in activities to improve the quality of care, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.
  • Strengthen health and safety requirements in child care programs and providers.
  • Improve access to child care by expanding eligibility for participating families and helping families connect with quality programs that meet their needs.

Learn more about the Child Care and Development Block Grant

Now that Congress has passed the bill, it heads to the President’s desk for his signature to become law.

CCDBG Roundup: Everything you need to know for Thursday

DSC08585For the first time in 18 years, the US Senate will have the opportunity to pass a reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant program, the primary federal program that provides assistance for families for child care, containing measures to improve the quality of child care nationwide.

On Thursday, November 13th, the US Senate will take up final consideration of S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. 

Starting in 2013 and continuing through 2014, working to improve and expand child care programs and legislation has taken center stage with some federal developments that have emphasized access to quality early learning opportunities for children and families.  In May 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services released a Notice of Proposed Rule-Making on the Child Care and Development Fund, proposing significant regulatory changes to many child care measures, ranging from health and safety improvements to modifications to the subsidy and eligibility aspects of the program.  In June 2013, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee introduced a bill to reauthorize the long-expired (last reauthorized in 1996, funding authorization expired in 2002) Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, which passed the full Senate in March 2014.   The House of Representatives passed an amended version of the bill on September 15, 2014, sending it to the Senate for final passage.

Timeline of S.1086 in Congress:

June 3, 2013: Senator Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Burr (R-NC), Senator Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Alexander (R- TN) Introduce S.1086, a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

September 18, 2013: The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee passes S.1086 out of committee by unanimous consent via voice vote.

March 12, 2014: The Senate begins debate on S.1086.

March 13, 2014: After adopting multiple amendments, Senate passes S.1086 by a vote of 96-2.

September 12, 2014: Representatives John Kline (R-MN), George Miller (D-CA), Todd Rokita (R-IN), and David Loebsack (D-IA), and Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC) announce bi-partisan, bicameral agreement to reauthorize CCDBG.

September 15, 2014: House of Representatives pass amended version of S.1086 by a voice vote

Helpful resources for Senate action on CCDBG:

To watch the proceedings live on Thursday: http://www.c-span.org/live/?channel=c-span-2

To contact your Senator and let them know you support S.1086: http://capwiz.com/naccrra/issues/alert/?alertid=63313171

For more information on CCDBG Reauthorization: http://usa.childcareaware.org/public-policy/core-issues/ccdbg-reauthorization

Including:

 – One page Summary of House-Passed S.1086

- Full text of S.1086

- One page summary of the program

For links to recordings for all four of our CCDBG Moving Forward Webinar Series: http://www.youtube.com/CCAofAmerica

To follow along live on Twitter, stay tuned to www.twitter.com/usachildcare

The fight for quality child care continues in November (CCDBG Reauthorization Update)

Friday, September 12, 2014, House and Senate leaders reached a bipartisan agreement to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. Negotiated by Representatives John Kline (R-MN), George Miller (D-CA), Todd Rokita (R-IN), and David Loebsack (D-IA), and Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Richard Burr (R-NC), the agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care.

After the original bill was introduced in the Senate on June 3, 2013, the Senate voted to pass S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) of 2014 on March 13th, 2014 by a vote of 96-2 and the House passed the amended version of the bill on September 15, 2014.

timeline

Timeline of S.1086 in Congress:

June 3, 2013: Senator Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Burr (R-NC), Senator Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Alexander (R- TN) Introduce S.1086, a bill to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Continue reading

Senate Overwhelmingly Passes CCDBG Reauthorization Bill: Day 2 Recap

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 11.21.44 PMIn an effort to significantly improve the quality of child care across the nation and to prove that it is possible for the Senate to work in regular order, in a bipartisan manner.  By a vote of 96-2, the Senate approved S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, turning the focus over to the House of Representatives for action.

The Senators voting in favor of passage for the bill included 53 Democrats, 42 Republicans, and 2 Independents.  Only Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) voted against the measure, while Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) did not vote on the bill.

Throughout the second day of Senator floor consideration for S.1086, the Senate adopted 10 amendments covering a wide-range of topics related to the bill.  Nine of the amendments were adopted by voice vote, while only one of the amendments was adopted by a roll call vote, Senator Coburn’s measure to help ensure that child care assistance is not being supplied to those with an income greater than $1 million annually.

The country has definitely taken notice as the passage of the bipartisan S.1086 has led headlines. To read more about the media’s take on the passage of the bill, check out this article from Politico – Senate passes child care bill

While passage out of the Senate was an important step forward to improving the quality of child care, the process is far from finished as the House of Representatives will be pressured to take action.  The good news is that the prospects coming out of the House Education and the Workforce Committee have seemingly increased the odds that CCDBG Reauthorization will be looked at in this upcoming year.

Today, immediately following the passage of S.1086 out of the Senate, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman Rep. John Kline (R-MN) released this statement:

“Senate passage of legislation to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant is a step forward in the shared goal of strengthening the nation’s existing network of early childhood services. The bill includes several commonsense provisions that will help empower parents and enhance coordination between CCDBG and other federal early care programs, such as Head Start. The committee will convene a hearing on March 25, 2014 to examine House priorities for CCDBG, and I look forward to a productive discussion as we work to find common ground and complete the reauthorization of this important program.”

This is a huge win for working families in this country.  This bill contains many common-sense measures for helping protect children in child care, such as requiring providers to undergo comprehensive background checks, ensuring annual inspections are conducted and requiring childcare providers receive training on CPR, first aid, and safe sleep practices.

We are one step closer to ensuring children are safe and receiving quality early learning experiences while in child care. The research is clear, children’s early years are proven to be the most important time to create strong learners. This bill sets the standard families expect for their children.

Please join us to thank the Senate for standing up for children and working families by voting yes to reauthorize CCDBG.

Click here to thank your Senator for voting Yes on S.1086