The Administration on Children and Families has now issued final regulations on the Child Care and Development Block Grant, CCDBG. The regulations are a result of the 2014 reauthorization of the CCDBG. Based on the numerous changes in that 2014 law, the regulations strengthen health and safety requirements, increase and stabilize access, takes steps to improve the quality of child care and the early child care workforce, and attempts to help parents make better choices.
The 2014 changes, which Congress has failed to fully fund, attempt to guarantee that child care for low income families will not get interrupted simply because of work changes such as a change in work schedules or hours. It also dedicates more funding toward quality improvements and attempts to strengthen and stabilize providers of child care. All items that will require greater investment into child care.
The 600 page of final regulations respond to many of the recommendations of advocates who were led by the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and CLASP. Those comments, signed onto by CWLA, helped shape some the final requirements.
Child care is getting a great deal of attention from both major party candidates in the presidential election and could get greater attention in the next Congress. In addition to some tax credits and deduction in the current tax code, child care funding is provided to states and in turn they provide child care services through either vouchers or through center-based care or both. Child care is heavily dependent on the non-profit and faith-based settings
The CCDBG is actually made of two funding sources one part is mandatory funding of $2.9 billion. Over $1.1 billion of this total is provided to states based on what each state had received under the 1996 TANF law. The remainder goes to states if they provide a match in state funding. An addition $2.7 billion is provided through the annual appropriations process and does not require a state match.
The challenge for child care programs is that due to the block grant structure states must draw funding for child care supply, funding dedicated to improving the quality of child care, and funding to strengthen the child care workforce all come from the same source. In effect if a state wants to invest in quality and stabilize the child care supply and workforce they may be forced to reduce which and how many families can qualify. The 2014 reauthorization, which sets all the regulation for all child care funding, was the first reauthorization since the 1996 TANF law was adopted.