Despite the advocacy for more child care funding, the President’s child care proposal does not increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) beyond the 2019 budget of $5.2 billion. It does propose a small $216 million in child care mandatory funding under the TANF law. Instead the major initiative by the Administration as generally described in the Budget:
“…a new, one-time $1 billion fund or a competitive fund aimed at supporting underserved populations and stimulating employer investments in child care for working families. This would be accomplished by removing unnecessary regulations, such as zoning requirements, and encouraging business consortia to establish child care facilities for their employees.”
The proposal comes on the heels of recent bipartisan action in the last several congresses to improve child care quality, supply and funding. In 2014 Congress passed a reauthorization of the CCDBG law and regulations for the first time since 1996. The new provisions expanded funding dedicated to quality, required certain protections for parents receiving child care subsidies and increased health and safety requirements. As a result of those bipartisan actions Congress began to address a lack of funding for child care and provided a big boost of $2.3 billion in 2018 and 2019. Despite that, child care is still under its peak funding level of 2001.
The President’s budget includes level funding for the CCDBG at $5.276 billion, level funding for Head Start at $10.063 billion and proposes the elimination of the afterschool program, the 21st Century Learning Centers funding with a cut of $1.221 billion.