Casey Priorities Advance in Committee as Part of Child Care and Development Block Grant Act

Program Helps Low-Income Families Obtain Child Care So Parents Can Work, Receive Education

Casey Priorities Advance in Committee as Part of Child Care and Development Block Grant Act

Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that key provisions he championed, many based on legislation he authored, have been included in the HELP Committee’s passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013 (CCDBG). The overall legislation helps low-income families obtain child care so parents can work and receive an education, and has not been reauthorized since 1996.

“This legislation is about setting children on a path to success from their earliest years,” Senator Casey said. “Helping parents access child care while they work or go to school allows them to be competitive in the job market, boosts the economy and strengthens families.”

Casey priorities included in the bill include:

  1. Establishing a one-year eligibility period. This will ensure that families who are eligible for CCDBG subsidies are ensured one year of subsidized child care. This provides stability and certainty for parents and children, who may currently see their child care arrangements disrupted repeatedly due to small changes in income.
  2. Increasing investment in quality care. States will be required to increase the amount of funds spent on activities to improve the quality of child care programs, and will be required to dedicate a portion of their funds specifically to improving the quality of care for infants and toddlers.
  3. Training requirements. States must describe their workforce training requirements designed to enable providers to promote the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of children.
  4. Coordination and alignment between early learning programs. States will be required to consult with their Early Learning Advisory Councils (established under Head Start) to ensure coordination between CCDBG and other early learning programs.

A full summary of the bill is below:

S. 1086 – The Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2013

S. 1086 represents a comprehensive, bipartisan reauthorization of a law that has not been revised in nearly twenty years. The bill places a primary emphasis on promoting policies that will contribute to the healthy development of the more than 1.5 million children who benefit from the federal child care subsidy program.

Key Enhancements include:

  1. Improving program quality, while simultaneously ensuring that federal funds support low-income and at-risk children and families
    • States must set aside 3 percent of funding to expand access and improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers.
    • In addition, the amount states set aside for quality improvement activities must be at least 10 percent within five years of enactment and states must report on what activities they choose to invest in.
    • States must describe how they are prioritizing quality care for children from low-income families in areas of concentrated poverty or unemployment.
  2. Addressing the nutritional and physical activity needs of children in child care settings
    • Allows quality funds to support the development of guidelines relating to health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity and development for young kids.
    • Incorporates the health and wellness needs of children into professional development.
  3. Strengthening coordination and alignment to contribute to a more comprehensive early childhood education and care system
    • Emphasizes the improvement of service coordination & delivery as a purpose of the law.
    • Requires states to consult with their Early Learning Advisory Councils, mandated through Head Start, on major decisions.
    • Requires States to coordinate with existing early education and care programs.
  4. Meeting the needs of children with disabilities who require child care
    • Requires States to explain how they will meet the needs of children with disabilities.
    • Ensures that the CCDBG provisions are coordinated with IDEA programs for infants and toddlers and preschool-aged children with disabilities.
  5. Providing Protections for Children and Families Who Receive Assistance
    • Children who initially qualify for a subsidy get care for at least a year.
    • When parents re-determine their eligibility for the subsidy, States must ensure they will give parents ample opportunity to prove continued eligibility and take into account the needs of families in doing so, including taking into account a parent’s irregular work schedule.
  6. Safeguarding the Health and Safety of Children
    • States must provide pre-service health & safety training to all CCDBG providers.
    • States must develop health & safety standards related to things such as: First Aid & CPR prevention of sudden infant death syndrome; and child abuse prevention.
    • States must perform at least one annual inspection of licensed CCDBG providers.
    • States must perform at least one pre-licensure inspection of CCDBG providers.
    • States must explain how providers who are license-exempt provide care that does not endanger the health or development of children.
    • Individuals who provide care for children with the support of CCDBG funding must undergo a background check.

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