Parents who work hard deserve reliable, quality child care that they can afford. Lawmakers talk about family values and education, but Congress has not allocated a significant child care funding increase in years. Now is their opportunity to change that.
We have an opportunity for a big increase in Child Care and Development Block Grant funds. Democrats and Republicans are beginning to negotiate the final year-end omnibus spending bill. Democratic Senators have outlined their funding priorities for FY 2018. Notably, they proposed doubling the discretionary funding for the CCDBG – an increase of $2.9 billion.
Congress has passed a Continuing Resolution to keep the government going till December 22, and will probably pass another CR to go till mid-January. Eventually Congress will have to agree on a final omnibus spending bill.
The spending caps put into place by the sequestration policy years ago have been crippling child care, health care, healthy food and Head Start, to name a few programs. Republicans are eager to increase these caps for defense spending; Democrats are pushing to ensure that non-defense spending also increases. If Congress reaches a deal on the spending caps, legislators then must decide how to allocate the additional funds.
Advocates have long been advocating to increase these caps and now is our chance.
Senators Sanders and Warren and the Democratic leadership have proposed a 2.9$ CCDBG allocation to fund quality enhancements, update health and safety standards, and give financial assistance to 230,000 families.
This funding is essential to help states realize the promise of quality affordable child care as outlined in the CCDBG Reauthorization Act of 2014. Every organization can sign on to urge Congress to allocate this funding.
About 10% of the CCDBG funds come to California, and comprise about one-fifth of California child care spending. Here’s how new funds could help children and families in our state:
- Financial assistance for about 20,000 more families
- Training for child care professionals on safe sleep practices, emergency preparedness and more
- yearly inspections of child care programs
- Early childhood development classes for professionals
- Information for parents about child care options
ABOUT THE CCDBG
The CCDBG Reauthorization Act of 2014 issued in grand new standards to improve quality and availability in child care for families. But the Act contained no new funding, and in fact, minimal increases in CCDBG over the past few years have NOT kept pace with rising costs, and 373,000 fewer children get child care now through the fund than in 2006.
The estimated the cost of bring health and safety standards up to date and improve quality is $775 million. The remainder of the $2.9 billion increase (if we are successful) would give 230,000 additional children the quality child care their families depend on. Read CLASP’s fact sheet here.
California child care advocates’ priorities for implementing the CCDBG Act of 2014 are on the Child Care Law Center Policy Work webpage.
YOUR VOICE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE
This is an opportunity we don’t want to lose. Add your organization’s name to this letter to Congress. Or, make a copy of the letter, put it on your letterhead, and send. Lawmakers are listening. They know that affordable, high-quality child care is a critical problem for families across America right now.