During the summer break child care advocates will be seeking more child care funding in an effort to make progress on implementing the new mandates enacted through a reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).  The 2014 reauthorization sought to improve the quality of care and to protect low income families access to child care subsidies.  In doing so however, Congress failed to follow up those new requirements with the necessary appropriations.

Thirty-three states have now requested one or more waivers or extensions of unmet provisions of the new CCDBG law. The new plans can be obtained through the Office of Child Care (OCC) and are posted here as the FY 2016-2018 Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plans. The 2014 reauthorization increased scrutiny over how states set their reimbursement rates to child care providers.  It also guarantees uninterrupted child care subsidies which in the past could require a family to re-determine eligibility for things as common as a change in work hours or work schedules.  Now states have to allow for a 12-month redetermination standard which eliminates more frequent reviews and cut-offs of subsidies.  In addition, the new law sets aside a greater percentage of child care funding targeted to quality improvements.

The challenge for state child care agencies, advocates and providers is that all of these new requirements draw form that same child care block grant funds.  That is, to increase quality of care such as teacher training, greater minimum education and staffing ratios, as well as higher reimbursement to child care providers and continuing the same level of eligibility for a child care subsidy all are drawn from the same CCDBG funding.  

More conservative estimates after the 2014 passage indicated that Congress would need to appropriate $1.3 billion over the next five years above current funding.  That total would average out to more than $250 million a year.  The House Appropriations Committee approved a $40 million increase for CCDBG. The Senate was actually worse with a $25 million. Current CCDBG funding is $2.7 billion in appropriations and another $2.9 billion under TANF mandatory child care funding.  The TANF funds have not increased since the last reauthorization in 2006. You can find the funding levels for key child welfare and children’s program with this CWLA 2017 budget chart.

According to an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) 33 states have asked for a waiver from the CCDBG Health and Safety Training standards.  The law requires that states and territories have pre-service or orientation and ongoing training requirements in 10 topic areas.  In addition, all states and territories have payment rates that may not be sufficient to ensure equal access, and HHS plans to make review of payment rates a priority for its upcoming implementation monitoring visits.

The NWLC found that three states requested eleven or more waivers, another six states requested between six and ten waivers and twenty-six requested between one and five waivers. Sixteen states requested no waivers. The breakdown is as follows:

  • States requesting 11 or more waivers: California (13), Hawaii (19), New York (11)
  • States requesting 6 to 10 waivers: Alaska (8), Florida (7), Illinois (6), Michigan (6), Minnesota (10), New Hampshire (6)
  • States requesting 1 to 5 waivers: Alabama (1), Connecticut (1), Delaware (2), District of Columbia (2), Georgia (2), Idaho (1), Iowa (1), Kansas (1), Maine (1), Maryland (1), Missouri (1), Nebraska (2), Nevada (2), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (1), Oregon (1), Pennsylvania (1), Rhode Island (1), South Dakota (2), Vermont (4), Virginia (4), Washington (2), West Virginia (2), Wisconsin (2)
  • States requesting no waivers: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wyoming

Take action on child care here.