Detailed Summary of H.R. 4092, Reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant and TANF
As Approved by the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness on 4/18/02
- CHILD CARE REAUTHORIZATION
- State Child Care Plan Requirements
- Quality Set-Asides and Initiatives
- Income Eligibility
- TANF REAUTHORIZATION
- Work Requirements
- Full Family Sanctions
- Individual Assessments/Plans
- Super Waiver Authority
CHILD CARE REAUTHORIZATION
- Freezes the annual authorization of discretionary funding at $2.1 billion. This is an authorization of appropriation and, unlike the mandatory child care funds included under TANF [Title IV-A of the Social Security Act], Congress must approve these funds each year. (Mandatory funds are under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee and are being considered as part of H.R. 4090.
State Child Care Plan Requirements
- Requires states to certify that they will collect and disseminate information to parents about the availability of childcare, research on child development, and the availability of assistance to obtain child care. Also requires states to provide information on low-income support programs such as food stamps, WIC, and child nutrition programs.
- Requires states to demonstrate how they are coordinating child care with other early childhood development services including Head Start, Early Reading First, Even Start, and state pre-kindergarten programs. States are currently required to generally describe coordination with other agencies without specific instruction to include coordinating activities with child care and early childhood development services.
- Requires states to demonstrate how they encourage public and private partnerships. This is already a state plan requirement.
- Requires an outline of the state strategy to address quality. States must list objective measures used to evaluate child care quality, targets for the measures, and an annual report on progress reaching these goals.
Quality Set-Asides and Initiatives
- Maintains the current 4% quality set-aside of a state's discretionary, mandatory and matching funds.
- Includes in law some definitions of quality activity, such as professional development, promotion of early literacy, and initiatives to increase compensation. These activities are permitted under the broad CCDF regulations and law currently in place. This change would specify these quality initiatives as allowable activities in the statute.
- Current law allows states to provide services to families up to 85% of state median income. H.R. 4092 eliminates this ceiling.
- The ceiling was established in 1990 to clarify that families who do not receive TANF assistance, or are at risk of needing assistance, would also be eligible for child care subsidies. The maximum income level was originally set at 75% of a state median income and raised to 85% in 1996.
- This change would appear to have little impact since no state now provides services to families near that level of median income. However, this change does eliminate eligibility as a meaningful measure of access to child care, one of the few measures currently in place to measure progress.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses this maximum ceiling to define what percentage of eligible children are served. For instance, HHS reports that its goal for 2003 is to serve 14% of eligible children.
- Without this measure, each state will set its own maximum ceiling that will be used to define percentage of eligible children served. The result will be that states will be able to report that they are serving 100% of eligible children. This measure will no longer represent the real need for child care in a state.
- Current law requires states to have 50% of their caseload in federally defined work. In addition, if a state chooses to serve two-parent families, these families are calculated separately and a state must have 90% of these families in federally defined work. H.R. 4092 will increase the 50% work requirement by 5% a year until it reaches 70% in 2007. No separate calculation is required for two-parent families.
- Under current law, states can reduce both of these work requirements when they receive a caseload credit. H.R. 4092 modifies the current caseload reduction credit, which is based on how much a state's caseload has decreased since 1995. The credit for 2003 would be based on the drop in caseload between 1996 and 2003. For 2004 it would be based on the drop in the caseload from 1998. Eventually, the credit would be based on the caseload that existed four years earlier. The formula is intended to be an incentive for states to continually reduce the number of families receiving cash assistance.
- Currently, TANF recipients must work 30 hours per week. Mothers with children under age six are required to work 20 hours. An individual meets this goal only if they are engaged in activities that are defined as "work." H.R. 4092 requires TANF recipients to be engaged 40 hours a week in work and activity. Twenty-four hours of that 40-hour total must be in work. Substance abuse treatment, rehabilitation services, work-related education, training, or job search for three months over a two-year period can be counted as work. For the remaining 16 of the 40 hours, an individual must be engaged in activities defined by the state. There will no longer be a reduced work week (of 20 hours) for mothers with children under six.
- The bill proposes no changes to current law allowing states to exempt 20% of their caseload from the work requirements.
- States are required to include performance goals in their state TANF plans. States would be required to indicate how they address issues such as job retention, job advancement, and services for struggling families. States will have specific numerical goals they must achieve. States are also to describe program integration, including integration with job training.
- The existing TANF high performance bonus is reduced to $100 million and is renamed the Bonus to Reward Employment Achievement. This bonus is currently funded at $200 million per year with a complex formula set up to measure job placement, job advancement, and access to certain support services such as child care. There is no limit on the number of states that can earn a portion of this bonus. H.R. 4092 reduces funding and redesigns the formula for awarding these bonuses
Full Family Sanctions
- The legislation requires states to impose a full "check" sanction. In effect, these are "full family" sanctions. If individuals fail to meet certain work and TANF requirements the entire family benefit must be eliminated, at least for a period of time. This full family sanction provision requires states that currently impose a partial sanction on families (reducing their monthly cash assistance) for refusal to meet certain TANF requirements to cut-off all benefits to the sanctioned family. If an adult fails to meet TANF activities and requirements partially, or for one month, then there must be at least a partial reduction in benefits. If the individual fails to meet all TANF requirements for two months or more, then the entire family has to be cut off from receiving any federal or state TANF assistance for at least one month.
- As of August 2000, 13 states had implemented a full family sanction policy for first instances of noncompliance. Thirty-four states imposed a full family sanction only as an ultimate sanction. The remaining 16 states do not impose a full cut off of TANF benefits for sanctioned families.
- The requirement to have an individual assessment is replaced with a requirement that every family have a self-sufficiency plan developed by the state.
- The Family Self-Sufficiency Plan would specify appropriate activities, including direct work activities; require, at a minimum, each member of the family who is work-eligible to participate in these activities; monitor the participation of these family members; regularly review the self-sufficiency plan; and revise the plan as appropriate.
- The legislation is unclear as to whether a family or individual assessment would be included as part of any Family Self-Sufficiency Plan.
Super Waiver Authority
- H.R. 4092 also adopts a proposal from the Administration that grants broad authority to the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor to waive any rule in any program (except Medicaid). This waiver proposal is also expected to be extended to the U.S. Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture.
- This "super-waiver" proposal does not impose any significant limitations on the types of rules that states can apply to be waived, except that a waiver must not result in higher federal costs than would be incurred under standard federal law. This stands in stark contrast to most waiver provisions of current law, which include certain safeguards. States are only required to show that the waiver would further the purposes of all of the programs involved. If the Secretary of the department did not respond within 90 days, the waiver would be automatically approved.
- Unlike past waiver policies that allowed states to operate demonstration projects to test the efficacy of new initiatives or alternative approaches, there would be no requirement that these waivers have a research objective or be subject to an independent evaluation.
- Under this super waiver proposal, a state could propose a block grant that could include child welfare, food stamps, housing, Head Start, education, and other programs.
Back to Top Printer-friendly Page Contact Us