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.

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

It’s Time to Fix Child Care – Reauthorization Bill Introduced in Senate

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.

mikluskiCCDBG 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!

Policies that Work for Working Families

Each week, nearly 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care setting for an average of 35 hours.

blogIt’s a statistic that gets mentioned often in conversations about the importance of child care in every community across the United States, and with good reason.  Working families understand the need to not only have their children in a child care setting that will keep them safe and out of harm’s way, but also to ensure that in the years where the most critical development occurs that they are in a setting that promotes early learning.

With so many families looking for safe, but affordable child care, one thing is certain; Families need effective and efficient policies that work for working families.

The good news is that Washington is paying attention.  In mid-February, in front of classrooms of pre-school children, the President announced a plan that would create public pre-k programs in every state, or help support the 39 states that already have pre-k programs.  In May, the Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed rule that would positively impact the quality of children in all child care settings, including special focus on health and safety measures.  And just this week, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) introduced legislation 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, with enhanced health and safety standards to keep children safe in child care.

Click below to learn more about any of these policies:

For more information on the President’s Early Learning Proposal, click here.

For more information on the HHS Proposed Rule, click here.

For more information on the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013, click here.

When Congress and the Administration are taking notice of the need for quality programs for children, from birth through age five, and taking action to make policies work better for the families that need them most, it’s important to make sure that we are supportive of all policies that work to support working families.  Whether those policies create and expand public pre-k programs, or assist in the development and expansion of partnerships between child care programs and Early Head Start programs, or require comprehensive background checks of all providers receiving federal funds to care for children, or even making it easier for parents to find and sort through information to learn more about the available options for quality child care in their area, the simple truth is that all of these policies benefit families and children.

Today is the National Early Learning Day of Action and advocates across the country are talking about why it’s critical to invest in young children.  Every child in every community across America deserves a fair shot at high quality and safe early learning opportunities that positively impact their development in the years when it’s most crucial.  Working families are the foundation for the entire country.  It’s time to make sure policies that work for working families, especially those that enhance their children’s early learning opportunities, are at the forefront of any policy discussion.