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NOV
17

POLICY
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After 18 years, both chambers of Congress reauthorize CCDBG

By Erik Peterson

Today the Senate followed the action of the House of Representatives this past September and passed S.1086–The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: Amended Version. The bipartisan, bicameral bill represents a compromise of the legislation that passed the Senate in March by a vote of 96-2.  Due to the changes in the House version, the Senate has to pass the bill again before sending it to the president’s desk to be signed into law. This marks the first time in 18 years that comprehensive Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) reauthorization legislation has passed both the House and Senate.

The bill that passed reflects a bipartisan agreement reached by Congressional leaders in mid-September to reauthorize CCDBG after several months of negotiations by Reps. John Kline (R-Minn.), George Miller (D-Calif.), Todd Rokita (R-Ind.) and David Loebsack (D-Iowa), as well as Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). The agreement will enhance transparency, strengthen health and safety protections, and improve the quality of care for children of low-income families aged birth to 13.

According to a recent fact sheet released by the Center for Law and Social Policy, one-third of children served in CCDBG are between ages 6 and 13—more than 497,000 per month—and are primarily provided with care after school. For school-age CCDBG providers, the key changes included in the House bill include:

  • Provisions to keep children healthy and safe:
    • States must provide pre-service health and safety training to all CCDBG providers.
    • States must develop health and safety standards related to things such as first aid, CPR and child abuse prevention.
    • States must perform at least one annual inspection and at least one pre-licensure inspection of CCDBG providers and an annual fire, health and safety inspection of license-exempt CCDBG providers.
    • Individuals who provide care for children with the support of CCDBG funding must undergo a comprehensive background check.
  • Improving program quality while simultaneously ensuring that federal funds support low-income and at-risk children and families:
  • The amount states set aside for quality improvement activities, including those aimed at school-age programs and providers, must be at least 9 percent within five years of enactment and states must report on what activities they choose to invest in.
  • Allows state funding of resource and referral systems to help families connect with quality child care.
  • Allows states to conduct a cost-estimation model in place of a market rate survey on which to base provider payment rates to allow states to show a connection of the rates to the cost of care.
  • Families that initially qualify for a subsidy get care for at least a year, regardless of changes in income or work, training, or education status.
  • De-links provider reimbursement with unforeseen child absences to stabilize child care providers’ business.
  • Prioritizes services for families with the lowest incomes.
  • Providing protections for children and families who receive assistance:

Unlike the original Senate bill, which did not specify funding levels, the House-passed version authorized an increase in funding of about $400 million over the next six years, which breaks down as follows:

  • FY2015 = $2.36 billion
  • FY16 = $2.478 billion
  • FY17 = $2.54 billion
  • FY18 = $2.603 billion
  • FY19 = $2.668 billion
  • FY20 = $2.749 billion

A full summary of the bill can be accessed here.

 

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