“Children Learning, Parents Earning, Communities Growing"

Federal & Child Care and Development Fund State Plan

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COVID-19 Information

The Administration for Children and Families has released materials to help Lead Agencies understand the flexibilities in the CCDF law as they try to help meet the needs of families and communities in response to the spread of COVID-19.  Options available to State, Territory, and Tribal Lead Agencies include: 
  • Flexibility to change eligibility or priority criteria to permit uninterrupted child care 
  • Flexibility to define income and set the income threshold for purposes of CCDF eligibility  
  • Option to waive family co-payment requirements for families that meet criteria established by the Lead Agency – which may include, for example, families impacted by federal or state declared emergency situations  
  • Option to use quality dollars to provide immediate assistance to impacted families, including families that do not participate in CCDF 
States may also enact legislation or regulation in order to take advantage of these flexibilities. States may also need to submit a Plan amendment or waiver request to the Office of Child Care. Click here to access ACF’s full memo on CCDF flexibility during state or federal emergencies.  
 In addition, ACF has released a letter with updated resources and information about administrative relief strategies, as well as a list of FAQs about CCDF and COVID-19.   


CCDBG Resources and Updates

Congress Approves $260 Million Funding Increase for Federal Early Childhood Programs

Washington, D.C. - In a critical bipartisan House vote, Congress has approved a FY2019 "minibus" appropriations package that includes $260 million in increases to the federal early childhood education programs. Notably, in addition to a $200 million increase to funding for Head Start and Early Head Start, lawmakers voted to increase funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program by $50 million, building on the historic $2.37 billion increase the program received in FY2018 through a bipartisan deal made by House and Senate leaders.

The funding package approved today, which also includes FY2019 funding for the Department of Defense, as well as a short-term Continuing Resolution to fund the rest of the government through December 7, 2018, was overwhelmingly approved in a 361-61 vote, and now awaits the president's signature.

"Congress has again prioritized the care and education of America's young children, building on years of bipartisan progress and commitment from lawmakers," said First Five Years Fund (FFYF) Executive Director Sarah Rittling. "The funding levels included in this bill will support greater access to, and the quality of early childhood education programs that are proven to support children's healthy development and prepare them for a lifetime of achievement. We are grateful to Democratic and Republican leaders in the House & Senate for their unwavering support for children from birth through age five."

Earlier this month, a Congressional Conference committee made up of bipartisan representatives from the House and Senate reached agreement on this funding "minibus" package, after negotiating appropriations legislation from the House and Senate.

Take a look at the final FY2019 funding numbers as approved today:

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)-$5.3 billion - $50 million above FY2018

Early Head Start / Head Start-$10.1 billion - $200 million above FY2018

Preschool Development Grants-$250 million - Level with FY2018

Child Care Means Parents in School-$50 million - Level with FY2018

IDEA Part B Preschool Grants-$391.12 million - $10 million above FY2018

IDEA Part C Grants for Infants and Families -$470 million - Level with FY2018

Research shows high-quality early learning and care from birth through age five benefits the academic, social, and emotional skills of children later in life and contributes to improved long-term societal outcomes. The high-quality early childhood education programs included in today's appropriations package play a critical role in ensuring that all children, regardless of where they start in life, have the opportunity to build a foundation for lifelong success.

FFYF is committed to working with stakeholders in the coming months to build upon the robust federal support for early childhood education programs so that all children can access high-quality opportunities that help them reach their full potential.

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Reauthorization Resources


Child Care and Development State Fund State Plan

The federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is an aggregate of several funding sources that is distributed in block grants by the federal government to the states and territories. The majority of the funds are to be used to provide child care services to families who meet certain income and need criteria. A portion of the funding is to be used for activities to improve the quality of child care. Another portion is to be used to pay for costs of administering the CCDF.

The purpose of the CCDF is to increase the availability, affordability, and quality of child care services. States and territories receiving CCDF funds must prepare and submit to the federal government a plan detailing how these funds will be allocated and expended. 

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April 1, 2018 was the most recent deadline for public testimony for CCDF State Plan Fiscal Year (FY) 2019–21. The submission deadline for the final CCDF State Plan Fiscal Year (FY) 2019–21 is June 30, 2018 to the federal government. A proposed timeline of this process can be found at the CDE CCDF State Plan Timeline Web page.

CLICK HERE TO SEE CAPPA'S INPUT LETTER for fiscal year 2019 -2021. 

Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2019-21

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Federal Fiscal Years (FFY) 2016-18


Federal Legislation of Relevance  

June 11, 2018

House TANF Bill Makes Small Improvements, But No New Funding to Support Them

By Elizabeth Lower-Basch and Renato Rocha

Last week the House Committee on Ways and Means passed H.R. 5862, a TANF reauthorization bill, with no Democratic support. However, members of both parties have expressed a shared understanding that TANF isn't providing participants the education, training, and supportive services needed to find-and keep-good jobs that enable them to meet their families' needs.  Read more.

June 4, 2018

Child Care Aware of America
CAPITOL HILL: House Committee Releases Draft TANF Reauthorization

Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee published draft legislation that would reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, including making significant changes to child care entitlement spending by states.

In its current version, the legislation proposes raising the cap by allowing states to transfer up 50% of TANF funds to CCDF. However, it would prohibit these funds from being spent on child care activities.  While CCAoA supports giving states more flexibility on child care investment, we fear that this proposal could negatively affect families and communities who depend on this support.

Child Care Aware® of America provided comments on the draft bill to the Committee that you can review here . The official introduction and consideration of the bill may happen soon. 

As of now, there is no Senate companion legislation.

May 7, 2018

On the Hill

Get Ready for Farm Bill Floor Fight: On April 18, the House Agriculture Committee reported out a Farm Bill, H.R.2 (pdf), that could see a House floor vote as soon as mid-May.  This bill would take food out of the refrigerators and off the kitchen tables of more than 1 million households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), leading to significantly greater hunger and poverty. Meanwhile,the Senate Agriculture Committee is currently drafting its version of the Farm Bill, which is expected this spring.

Now is the Time to Act 
Members of the House and Senate will be heading home for a one-week recess from Monday, April 30, through Friday, May 4, creating an opportune time for advocates to engage with Members of Congress. See  FRAC Legislative Action Center for actions you can take during the recess to urge your representatives to vote "No" on any Farm Bill that cuts SNAP.

Additional: Click here to read letter submitted from California anti-hunger community to California Members of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture

November 6, 2017

With the state legislature on Interim recess, our attention and focus has turned to the federal government. Of particular interest is the Child Care for Working Families Act, introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate education committee. This bill aims to be a comprehensive early learning and child care bill with the goal of increasing access and affordable, high-quality child care for working families across the country. 

The bill, S. 1806, was introduced on 9/14/17 and has been referred to Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, where it is currently at in the legislative process.

As highlighted in Senator Murray's press release, the main tenants of the bill are as follows:

  • Establish a new federal-state partnership based on Medicaid to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth through age 13;
  • More than double the universe of children eligible for child care assistance, and increase the number of children who could receive such assistance by more than 13 times the current amount;   
  • Provide incentives and funding for states to create high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds during the school day, while providing a higher matching rate for programs for infants and toddlers, who are often harder and more expensive to care for
  • Increase workforce training and compensation, including by ensuring that all child care workers are paid a living wage and early childhood educators are provided parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience;
  • Improve care in a variety of settings, including addressing the needs of family, friend, and neighbor care and care during nontraditional hours to help meet the needs of working families;
  • Build more inclusive, high-quality child care providers for children with disabilities, and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; and
  • Help all Head Start programs meet the new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming.

Text for the bill can be found by clicking HERE.

A fact sheet can be found HERE.

A press release can be found HERE.


Federal Updates from Partners

September 23, 2019
Appropriations Update
Congress resumed session on Monday, September 9, and now the Senate will begin work on its FY2020 appropriations bills. The current deadline to complete the process is September 30, but with a budget deal reached just before August recess it is likely Congress will extend this deadline in order to work out details.
The House already completed its appropriations process last June, voting to provide a $2.4 billion increase for CCDBG, a $1.5 billion increase for Head Start, and $100 million for Preschool Development Grants. Eventually the House and Senate will need to "conference", or negotiate the differences in their allocations. Here, we will advocate for the higher allocation, so stay tuned!
Three Child Safety Bills Likely to be Discussed in the House

Preventing tragedies while your child is such a serious topic that there are three child safety bills being voted on in the full House by the end of the month. The Stop Tip-overs of Unstable, Risky Dressers on Youth Act, or STURDY Act  would direct the CPSC to create a mandatory standard to prevent tip-overs. The Safe Sleep for Babies Act of 2019 would ban the sale of inclined sleepers, such as the recently recalled Fisher Price Rock 'n Play.  To ban crib bumpers that increases chances of suffocation the Safe Cribs Act of 2019 is also going to be discussed. Dozens of infant deaths have been seen due to the unsafe sleep environments. Learn more about safe sleep practices by checking out our friends' at KiD webinar.
Early Learning in the United States: 2019

These fact sheets are part of an annual series examining early learning programs across the United States. See the  2016,  2017, and  2018 versions for previous years' data.
To better understand the current state of early learning and the opportunities for improvement in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, the Center for American Progress produces annual state fact sheets. The 2019 update includes information regarding:
  • Child care prices and the strain they put on family budgets
  • Gaps in child care funding and access
  • Wages for the child care workforce
  • The benefits of policies that would expand access to affordable child care and preschool
Policymakers and advocates can use these fact sheets to identify their state's greatest opportunities for improvement and to highlight the benefits of investing in high-quality early childhood programs.
Link to full article.
September 12, 2019
Nearly a decade into a long economic recovery from the Great Recession, the U.S. Census Bureau's poverty and health insurance reports for 2018 show resounding signs of trouble for our country's lowest-income residents. Most alarmingly, the number of people with health insurance coverage declined for the first time since 2009, by nearly 2 million, reversing the trend of dramatic and historic gains in coverage since passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Among children, 425,000 more were uninsured in 2018 versus 2017, reversing a decades-long trend toward greater coverage. This concerning reversal, including a significant worsening among Hispanic children and among young children (under age 6), likely reflects multiple attacks on health insurance coverage for people with low incomes. Notably, the Trump Administration is waging ongoing efforts to undermine the ACA and Medicaid access and a hateful anti-immigrant agenda that's causing a chilling effect on immigrant families' access to public programs.
Link to full article.
Colleges Could Do More To Help Student Parents Pay For Child Care, Watchdog Says

When Lesley Del Rio goes to the library to do her college math homework, she often has a study buddy: her precocious 8-year-old son, Leo.

Del Rio is working on her associate degree; Leo is working on third grade.

And Del Rio is not alone: More than 1 in 5 college students in the U.S. are raising kids. That's more than 4 million undergraduates, and they are  disproportionately women and people of color. Of those students, more than half will leave school without getting a degree.

That's all, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog. The report, first obtained by NPR, found that schools often aren't giving student parents information that could help them access untapped federal money to pay for child care.
Melissa Emrey-Arras, who led the GAO's review, says, "These parents have a lot going on in their lives in terms of school and young children, and we think it's important to make information easily available for them about financial aid options so that they can make choices that will help them."

Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat and ranking member of the Senate education committee, said in a statement that the report "shows there are simple steps that colleges and the [U.S.] Department of Education can take to better inform student parents of their financial aid options. The lack of affordable, high-quality child care shouldn't hold anyone back from achieving their dreams."

Access to child care is one of the biggest barriers student parents face. For Del Rio, who works full time, attending night classes at her community college presented a real challenge. "Who's gonna take care of my child then?" she recalls thinking. "There isn't child care open until 10 p.m."
Link to full article.
September 6, 2019
According to expats living in 187 countries, the U.S. is among the least safe and affordable countries in the world
A new global survey finds that expats living in the U.S. aren't able to enjoy life in the world's wealthiest country because of many of the same factors that cause anxiety among Americans: high healthcare and child care costs and a general lack of social welfare programs.

The annual Expat Insider Survey,  released Thursday by the expat community network InterNations, finds that the U.S. is only the 47th best country to live in out of 64 countries. The country's ranking is unchanged since the group's last survey in 2018.

Link to full article .
What Child Care Costs and How to Save
The cost of child care services is a major line item in many family budgets. 
FOR MANY FAMILIES, THE  cost of day care and other child care services swallows up entire paychecks, blows up budgets and makes it difficult to save for other financial goals.
These days, child care costs frequently outpace mortgage and  food bills, according to a 2018 report from  Child Care Aware of America. In fact, the cost of child care for two children exceeds mortgage costs in 35 states and the District of Columbia. In 28 states and the District of Columbia, center-based infant care is pricier than annual tuition at a public four-year college.
The high cost of child care leaves many families struggling to cobble together affordable care arrangements or worrying about whether it makes sense for two partners to stay in the job market. "It's definitely one of the most pressing issues that's facing working families with children," says Zane Mokhiber, data analyst at the Economic Policy Institute, which provides an interactive  state-by-state breakdown of child care costs.
So how do families afford the pricey cost of child care and day care? Here's what to know.
Link to full article.

September 3, 2019

Most Foster Youth Can't Afford Extracurriculars. California Might Pick Up the Tab.
Latrice Ventura , a 23-year-old former foster youth in Los Angeles, participated in a number of extracurricular programs growing up and said they were instrumental in her development.
"Each one has taught me something different," Ventura told The Chronicle of Social Change, listing modeling classes and arts programs as some of her favorites.

But her martial arts training was the most impactful, instilling in her a sense of self-discipline and providing an outlet for her to release the anger Ventura struggled with as a foster youth. It also gave her more faith in her own potential.

"It reminds you that you can do anything you put your mind to. Because there were a lot of things that I couldn't do out the gate but was able to learn," Ventura said.

Ventura's experience is backed by  evidence pointing to the benefits of extracurricular activities, but  foster youth face several barriers to participation. Not only do these clubs, teams and programs often require various fees and expensive equipment, transportation challenges and frequent moves also add logistical challenges.

bill working its way through the California legislature seeks to help more foster youth access these enrichment opportunities by establishing a pilot program to distribute small grants to their caregivers to allow them to participate in sports, music programs, clubs or other extracurricular activities.

Link to  full  article . 
Advocates Say Trump's Flores Rule Change is 'a Call for the Mass Internment of Children' 

The Trump administration is expected to formally release new regulations Friday that would remove time limits on how long the federal government can detain migrant children.

The new rules would end the  1997 Flores agreement which prevents the government from keeping detained minors in immigration custody for more than 20 days, whether they're with their families or traveling alone. It also sets standards of care and treatment while in detention facilities, including requiring that children are provided with food and drinking water, access to bathroom facilities, emergency medical assistance and adequate temperature control and ventilation, according to  a Congressional Research Service report.
"If implemented, the rule will deny asylum-seeking children basic necessities, and they and their families will face indefinite imprisonment," said Wendy Cervantes, director of immigration and immigrant families at the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), in a statement.
Link to full article.

August 22, 2019

Lack of access to affordable, quality child care is one of the biggest concerns that we hear from our constituents back home in Minnesota and Alaska.
Across the country many parents are making untenable decisions just to get their children quality care. Some of them have had to  leave the workforce because they couldn't afford care for their children while they worked. Others are skimping on food and other essentials in order to pay for quality care. And then there are others who can afford child care but can't find a licensed child care facility.

While the two of us may have principled differences in Congress, we agree that access to quality, affordable child care is a problem that affects far too many families. If we are dedicated to securing a better future for the next generation, we have to come together to do better. That's why we've introduced the  Child Care Workforce and Facilities Act  -- legislation that will work to bring the cost of child care down and provide more child care centers in areas that need them the most. 
Today, more than half of Americans reside in areas classified as "child care deserts," according to a 2018  report  released by the Center for American Progress. These are communities that have more than three children for every licensed child care slot. And while the amount and size of deserts vary from state to state, a little over one-fifth of the country lives in a state where 60% or more of the neighborhoods constitute child care deserts, according to the same report. Alaska and Minnesota are certainly among those states dotted with child care deserts. 
Link to full article.

August 21, 2019

States' Payment Rates Under the Child Care & Development Fund Program Could Limit Access to Child Care Providers 

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, for which fiscal year (FY) 2018 Federal funding totaled $8.2 billion, provides child care subsidies for 1.4 million eligible children. CCDF program payments, which are administered by States, allow eligible low-income parents to work or pursue training or education while their children attend child care. If States set CCDF payment rates too low, families may not have access to child care providers. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is responsible for overseeing States' CCDF payment rates and ensuring that eligible families have equal access to child care services. The only proxy for ensuring equal access that ACF has recommended to States is setting CCDF payment rates at a level that covers 75 percent of child care provider prices-referred to as the 75th percentile. 

We surveyed a nationwide sample of licensed child care providers, including centers and family child care homes, to obtain child care pricing for an infant with no special needs. We compared providers' prices to States' CCDF payment rates and estimated the difference between these amounts. We surveyed States to examine how they determine that their CCDF payment rates are sufficient to ensure equal access to child care services for eligible families. Lastly, we interviewed ACF staff responsible for CCDF plan oversight to review how ACF ensures that States' CCDF provider payment rates are sufficient to ensure equal access for eligible families.
The majority of child care providers charge more for full-time infant care than States' CCDF payment rates. As a result, CCDF families' access to care may be limited unless they can pay the difference between provider prices and State payment rates. Operating with finite resources, States must balance competing priorities and perform tradeoffs between raising payment rates, serving eligible families, and ensuring compliance with program requirements. ACF does not evaluate States' CCDF payment rates, nor does it determine whether States have ensured equal access to child care services for eligible families. We found that only seven States have set their CCDF payment rates at the level that ACF recommends for ensuring equal access. The majority of States have implemented provider-friendly payment practices, such as paying providers timely, to incentivize providers to participate in the CCDF program and ensure access for eligible families. However, some providers still report concerns about payment amounts, payment frequencies, and other administrative burdens associated with CCDF program participation.
Link to full report.

August 13, 2019

Child care costs in most states exceed federal subsidy payments provided to low-income parents, according to a newly released report from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, leaving working families with few affordable options.

The report, released Tuesday, focuses on the Child Care Development Fund, an $8.2 billion block grant that goes toward offsetting the cost of care for 1.4 million children nationwide. The fund is the primary federal funding source for child care assistance for eligible working parents.

The federal recommendation is that states provide payment rates at the 75th percentile, which allows eligible families to access 3 out of 4 providers without paying more out of pocket. But the report shows most states set their rates much lower.

States have discretion over the how to administer the program: They set their own income requirements and decide how much families are expected to contribute. The report cites several reasons that states may keep their rates low, including stretching limited resources to serve more families and taking into consideration the cost of higher-quality care. Nineteen states reported paying enrollment and registration fees for low-income families, and seven states said they pay for extra child care activities such as field trips.
Click here for the link to the form.
The report focuses on the Child Care Development Fund, an $8.2 billion block grant that goes toward offsetting the cost of care for 1.4 million children nationwide. The fund is the primary federal funding source for child care assistance for eligible working parents.

"CCDF is severely underfunded, and as families across the country are struggling to afford care across all income levels, it's dire for low-income families," said Catherine White, director of child care and early learning at the National Women's Law Center.
Link to full article.

August 12, 2019

Families who work nonstandard schedules are inequitably affected by lack of child care. And while occupations requiring nonstandard schedules are projected to see the most employment growth by 2020, child care during these working hours is nonexistent and, often, unlicensed. 
In our 2019 report, It's About Time: Parents Who Work Nonstandard Hours Face Child Care Challenges, we examine findings such as:
  • How many families are affected by jobs with nonstandard hours and often left without quality child care.
  • Recommendations for policies and legislation to build a supply of quality, affordable child overnight and weekend child care.
  • What Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies can do to support families who need extended hours child care and recruit and retain qualified child care nonstandard hours child care programs.
Click here for the link to view the report, a webinar about the findings, and related handouts.
Child Care Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Stories
Do you know of a child care program that experienced an emergency? If so, please tell us about it. We are often asked to share stories on Capitol Hill or with other decision makers about how child care programs have been impacted by emergencies so we need your help! We are always collecting child care emergency preparation, response, and recovery stories so submit a story anytime. We are also interested in hearing about the short-term and long-term impact so any follow up details that can be shared are welcomed as well. We appreciate your help!
Click here for the link to the form.

August 9, 2019

The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) and  over 20 other  health care and civil rights organizations delivered  over 100,000  comments  from the general public  today in defense of the  Health Care Rights Law , a landmark statute that guarantees a wide range of protections against health care discrimination. The Trump-Pence Administration recently announced efforts to roll back these vital protections, which would have devastating implications for all health care patients. The rule especially harms  LGBTQ+ people, people who have sought abortions, people whose first language is not English, immigrants, people of color, and people with disabilities.   
The following is a statement from Yumhee Park, NWLC Senior Manager of Campaign and Digital Strategies:

"A patient's health should always come first. Yet, rather than prioritizing care, this proposed rule serves as another example of the Trump-Pence  Administration working to undermine health care access for those who need it the most. This rule returns us to an era where patients can be turned away at the door because they have sought an abortion in the past, because they are pregnant out of wedlock, or because they are LGBTQ. This is unacceptable and we will not stop fighting until everyone is able to seek the care they need, without fear of discrimination."    
Link to full article.

August 8, 2019

California has been leading the way in improving job quality and workplace benefits that support the economic security and health of women and their families, including paid family and medical leave and paid sick days. Lawmakers should continue the progressive momentum and prioritize policies that ensure women's health and economic well-being.

Women need policies that reflect their roles as providers and caregivers. In California, mothers are the sole, primary, or co-breadwinners in 59.5 percent of families, and these numbers are higher for some women of color. The following policy recommendations can help support the economic security of women and families in California.
Provide access to paid family and medical leave
Access to paid family and medical leave would allow workers to be with their newborn children during the critical early stages of the child's life; to care for an aging family member; to recover from their own serious illness; or to assist in a loved one's recovery from a serious illness or injury.
  • Only 17 percent of civilian workers in the United States have access to paid family leave through their employers.
  • In 2002, California was the first state to pass a paid family leave law, which established an insurance program in 2004 to provide workers paid family leave to care for a new child or an ill family member, to complement the state's existing temporary disability program. All private sector workers are covered under the law and receive partial wage replacement, up to 100 percent of the state's average weekly wage. Workers can take up to six weeks for paid family leave and up to 52 weeks for their own disability.
  • California's paid family and medical leave law will help the state manage the growing needs for elderly caregiving. For example, more than 1 in 5 workers in California is at least 55 years old, and in less than 15 years, the state's population that is 65 and older will grow by nearly 33 percent. California's aging population means an increase in older adults with serious medical conditions who will need additional care.
Expand quality, affordable child care
Families need child care to ensure they are able to work, but many lack access to affordable, high-quality child care options that support young children's development and meet the needs of working families.
  • Sixty-three percent of California children younger than age 6 have all available parents in the workforce, which makes access to affordable, high-quality child care a necessity.
  • For a California family with one infant and one 4-year-old, the annual price of a child care center averages $27,744 per year, or 36 percent of the median income for a California family with children.
  • California is above the national average in children enrolled in public preschool, with about 44 percent of 4-year-olds enrolled.
Link to full article.


August 5, 2019

When we talk about health and safety in child care, the discussion is often on reducing or eliminating physical threats to children's well-being (e.g., unsafe playground equipment of the spread of an infectious disease). CCAoA believes that quality child care helps build healthy children, including their healthy social and emotional development.  But what about children who have experienced trauma? How can the child care environment help them heal? This is the third of four blogs CCAoA is publishing on social-emotional health.  
Trauma among young children is  widespread  - so widespread  that most  child care  programs  serve children who   have  already  experienced  a  traumatic event   or will  experience one  during early childhood. 1  Many  children  have been exposed to  chronic  trauma  due to ongoing   abuse or neglect,  living with a parent with untreated mental illness and/or a substance use issue, witnessing incidents of  domestic violence, etc.  
T raumatic childhood events overwhelm a child's ability to cope, triggering a stress response. With chronic trauma, the child's stress response system is activated too often, for too long, resulting in toxic stress . It can cause changes in the parts of the child's brain that control learning and behavior. Toxic stress can also negatively affect a child's physical health and social-emotional development. 
Link to full article.
The end of summer is a busy time for families seeking child care. Prepare yourself by watching  t his video  describing what families and child care resource and referral (CCR&R) professionals, from around the nation, have to say about child care assistance available in your community. 
Ready to get a head start on your child care plan? We've provided resources to educate, prepare and share for both parents and early care and education providers. Feel free to share them to your network and on social media!
Link to full article.

August 1, 2019

Child Care Aware® of America and NORC at the University of Chicago to Build Child Care Data Center 

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) will partner with NORC at the University of Chicago to build a strong, standardized data repository about child care in the U.S.  The goal of this effort is to ensure that child care systems, policies and funding decisions are based on the most reliable data available. The Child Care Data Center (CCDC) project seeks to answer fundamental questions about the availability of, and the demand for, child care. The CCDC will be an interactive website and data center that:
  • Stores meaningful child care data across the nation;
  • Allows users to access customized data visualizations to tell the story of child care in their state or local community, and;
  • Offers actionable tactics to advocate for change.
Last year, CCAoA engaged a group of state and national partners to inform the development of the CCDC prototype. Over the next 12 months, CCAoA will engage a National Advisory Panel to support the build out of the CCDC. This collaborative effort will fill a critical gap within the child care field.
Link to full article.

July 23, 2019

Trump administration moves to limit food stamps, restrict free meals for children
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing that families who receive temporary government benefits should no longer be automatically eligible for food assistance, a change that could restrict access to free school lunches for 265,000 children.

In California, about 3.2 million children use free school lunches, according to the California Department of Education. It is unclear how many children would no longer be eligible if this rule went into effect.  

Under the proposal, about 3.1 million people would lose access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides money for food to low-income Americans and is commonly called food stamps.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue framed it as a necessary change to cut down on abuse of the system. But the move was met with widespread disdain among Democrats, who called it "cruel" and "harmful." 
"It is outrageous, cruel and galling that after giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthy and big corporations, the Trump administration, under the guise of fiscal austerity, is attempting to take nutrition assistance away from millions of Americans on the verge of hunger - including school children and people with disabilities," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.
Link to full article.
Trump's poverty rule could cut benefits to 15,000 California households over time, report says
The Trump administration's proposal to change how the federal government determines what constitutes poverty would make 15,000 fewer households in California eligible for benefits within 15 years, according to a new D.C. think tank study.
The rule - which could be instituted next week - would also have implications for hundreds of thousands of people nationwide who rely on the government for food and medical benefits, including Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Funding, formerly known as food stamps.
The effects would be compounded every year, according to Aviva Aron-Dine, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning D.C. think tank. So the more time that passes - should the rule be enacted - the more people would no longer qualify for low-income household benefits, which Aron-Dine said they desperately need.
Link to full article.

July 22, 2019

What are the candidates proposing to offset the high cost of child care? Here's what to know.
As the Democratic candidates for the 2020 election start to roll out policies to entice voters and define their view of American politics, parents need to pay close attention to proposals that will have a direct impact on them and their families. At top of mind: the high cost of child care.
In many states, the cost of child care exceeds the cost of a four-year college. Some families spend up to a third of their income just trying to find a place for their child to go. This is a growing issue, and some politicians have attempted to craft public policy to fill the gap. In the House and Senate, there have been many block grant proposals and federal investment ideas, including 2017's Child Care for Working Families Act. So far, nothing meaningful has come to pass. But the frontrunners of the 2020 race (in this piece, we have defined them as candidates polling above 1 percent) have some child care proposals and have signaled support for popular big-budget items like universal pre-K. 
So, which Democratic candidate's child care plans hold water? To offer some insight, we laid out the plans and then spoke to Dr. Jennifer Glass, a professor at University of Texas Austin and an expert in work and family issues and gender stratification in the labor force, for her insight. Glass hinted at her own vision for a good child care plan: a program in which parents can take up to a year of subsidized parental leave for the first year in which their baby is born; take their child to an in-home community child care center; and then get them into a public school pre-K program at the age of 3. 

Link to full  article and statements on the candidates.

July 16, 2019

States Where Child Care Is Most Affordable 

NEARLY HALF OF FAMILIES in the U.S. spend 15% or more of their household income on child-care costs, according to a  study released Tuesday by Care.com.

The organization, which helps families find child care, senior care and other services, surveyed more than 4,000 U.S. parents in April and found that two-thirds of them are spending more on child care than they did in 2018.
More than two-thirds of parents also said these costs have created tension in their relationships and nearly 40% of respondents said they waited longer to have children due to child-care expenses.
n some states, child care is far more affordable than in others. In  New Jersey , hiring a nanny accounts for 35.5% of a family's annual household income, while parents in New Mexico  spend 65.7% of their annual household income to have a nanny take care of their child(ren).  Maryland   Connecticut   New Hampshire  and  Minnesota followed New Jersey as the most affordable states to hire a nanny.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, care is considered affordable if it is 7% or less of a family's household income.
When looking at the cost of care for toddlers at a day-care center, North Dakotans have the best deal, with day-care costs equating to 10.8% of families' annual household income. In D.C. that percentage rises to 26.8%, and in California it's 18.8%.

Trailing  North Dakota as the most affordable states for day care services were  UtahDelaware, New Jersey and  South Dakota.
Nationally, parents spent an average of $596 per week for a nanny in 2018, compared to $472 in 2013, and $213 per week for a child-care center, compared to $186 in 2013.

As a result of these high child-care costs, Care.com found that 31% of parents said they had put themselves further into debt, while 37% said they stopped saving money.  
Link to full article.
Rising Child Care Costs Eat Into Budgets
Like most roles that carry a great deal of responsibility, parenting comes with its fair share of stress. But a new survey suggests that much of that stress could be financial.

Child care costs are rising for a majority of Americans. In fact, nearly two-thirds of respondents to a  survey by online caregiving platform Care.com said they are spending more on child care this year than last year. Care.com set out to find out how those costs are impacting family budgets by surveying 4,146 parents for its annual Cost of Care survey.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child care is deemed unaffordable if a family is spending more than 7% on it. Yet, more than 70% of respondents to the Care.com survey said they spend at least 10% of their income on child care, while nearly half spend more than 15% on child care-related costs each year.

While 31% of respondents said child care costs have led them to take on debt, others reported making major lifestyle changes and sacrifices in an attempt to manage the costs. Among them:
  • 37% stopped saving
  • 37% put a halt to debt repayments
  • 41% cut out some non-child-related expenses, such as gym memberships and cable TV
For many families, child care costs have caused problems that go beyond finances. More than a third (36%) said the cost of child care has led to tension in their relationships. On top of that, 39% said child care costs have impacted their family planning and 39% said they either waited to have children or decided to have fewer children because of the high costs involved in taking care of them.

Child care costs impacting parents' career choices

Child care costs are also influencing parents' career decisions, as 63% of respondents said the financial burden had caused them to make professional moves. For example, 38% said they had changed jobs] to make more money to pay for child care, 36% said they had asked for a more flexible schedule and 26% said they had stopped working full time and switched to a part-time schedule in order to save money on child care.

Moms, in particular, felt the impact of child care costs on their careers. Of the mothers surveyed, more than half reduced their hours to save on the costs of child care while 25% left the workforce entirely.

The career decisions parents made were, in many cases, undesirable, as 22% said they later regretted the professional sacrifices they made in order to deal with rising child care costs.

If you're a working parent, it's important to have a good idea of the  average cost of child care if you're going to manage your budget effectively. That information will factor into your decision about whether it makes more sense financially for you to  work or stay at home with your child. The state you live in may also impact your decision as some states have more expensive child care than others.
Link to article.

July 9, 2019

Why don't Americans talk about child care? 

The Democrats recently held two nights of debate, each two hours long, and in both sessions the two words that most American families talk about, worry about and sweat about behind closed doors were barely mentioned. Those two words are "child care." Finding it is a challenge; paying for it can be crippling; it's an issue that resonates with voters regardless of party, race or geography; and, as of yet, we aren't talking about it in a serious way.

It's never been a top-line issue in presidential politics, but  the relative silence on the matter this year is surprising.  Most though not all of the candidates have children, and many of those are still young. And while  most of the candidates are quick to praise spouses, aunties, in-laws and siblings who hold it down while they chase votes, few have talked candidly about their own reliance on outside help. And yet this quiet crisis percolates in millions of homes.
Why don't we talk about it? Because we don't want to admit that we need it so badly. Every parent knows the terror that jolts through the body when a provider calls in sick or the day-care center has to close for a few days because someone sent their child in with a contagious illness. Women don't talk about it because we want to project that we are fully in control of the work-life balance, that ridiculous phrase that calls to mind some kind of Zen-like pose when in fact the whole process is a constant clutch of nerves. Every parent knows this, and most employers know it, too.  Almost half of all parents miss work  at least once every six months because child care goes off the rails.
Child care needs to be easier to find and easier to afford. It needs to be better regulated with stronger local or state standards. And this is where things get really complicated.
Link to full article.

July 8, 2019

Preparing for Immigration Raids: What Early Childhood Stakeholders Can Do 

We are deeply concerned about the harm of such enforcement actions on young children, families, and communities. In CLASP's own  research , we heard first-hand how children are severely affected by such actions. Children who witness the arrest of a parent-particularly in their own home-are at greater risk of developing mental health and behavioral problems that have long-term implications for their overall development and future success. The detention or deportation of a parent also decimates families' household incomes, making it more difficult for the remaining parent or caregiver to make ends meet.
Massive enforcement actions also take a major toll on the organizations that serve children and families, including child care providers, schools, churches, food banks, and others. These organizations are forced into crisis mode to meet families' immediate needs and to ensure that families are reunited. Over time, these providers also bear the added responsibility of mitigating long-term harm to children whose families were needlessly torn apart.
Early childhood providers are trusted resources for immigrant families. Here's what you can do to fight back against this immoral attack and prepare for the possibility of a raid:
  • Issue organizational statements or guidance. Don't wait for a raid to occur in your community. As soon as possible, advocacy organizations should issue statements in opposition to the raids; government agencies should issue guidance around data privacy and immigrants' rights; and service providers should communicate their plan if enforcement actions occur in the community and connect clients and parents with resources. CLASP has talking points on the raids for early childhood stakeholders.
  • Have a plan. Early childhood providers should take steps to prepare your program for the possibility of a raid in your communities. Ensure that children's emergency contacts are current. Know your rights and have a plan in place in the unlikely event that immigration enforcement actions occur at your center- or school-based location. CLASP has a guide to creating "safe space" policies for early childhood programs, including a template policy. Contact Rebecca Ullrich ([email protected]) for questions and technical assistance.
  • Share resources with families and community members. CLASP is compiling resources to help providers and families prepare for possible enforcement actions. We will continue to update this spreadsheet as we learn about additional resources that can help you make sure families:
    • Know their rights in the event of an enforcement action at their home, workplace, or in the community;
    • Have a plan in place for their children's care in case they are subject to enforcement actions; and
    • Can locate a free or low-cost immigration attorney nearby.
Link to full article.

Child Care Aware® of America Releases Findings of 2019 Annual State Survey on Child Care 

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) released the results of its annual state child care survey,   Checking in on the Child Care Landscape. The results illustrate the unique child care challenges many states are facing. States are finding an alarming decline in family child care providers as well as a decline in the number of child care providers accepting Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies. These themes, combined with state-specific challenges, mean that care is inaccessible and unaffordable for many families and child care quality is inconsistent across communities.  Earlier this month, CCAoA released  CCDBG: 2019 State Snapshots, detailing the critical work states are doing using federal funding.

Research tells us that children who participate in high-quality programs experience positive lasting effects, including higher IQ scores, boosted academic and economic achievement, and lower incidences of childhood obesity and chronic illness.

Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) help families find care and conduct outreach and recruitment to grow the supply of child care. They also provide support for child care providers in their states and communities to help retain qualified providers. In addition, CCR&Rs conduct research and provide valuable data about child care in their states, allowing for more accurate descriptions of the unique challenges and opportunities in each community.
  • The number of family child care providers decreased in 25 states from 2017 to 2018.
  • The number of center-based child care providers decreased in 15 states from 2017-2018.
  • In 2018, CCR&Rs provided:
    •  Over 1 million child care referrals
    • Consumer education to nearly 200,000 families
    • Over 51,000 training sessions to child care providers
    • More than 16,000 referrals to child care for children with special needs
    • Over 35,000 referrals to nonstandard hours child care providers
Link to full article.

July 2, 2019

A Quality Education for Every Child 

There is no question that education is a powerful driver of prosperity. Americans with college degrees earn 117 percent more a year than those who do not complete high school.  Based on data for the high school class of 2015, raising the nation's high school graduation rate from 83 percent to 90 percent would result in an additional $3.1 billion in earnings for each high school cohort, which would translate into a $5.7 billion increase in gross domestic product.  Moreover, Americans with higher levels of education are more likely to vote,  to volunteer,  and to donate to charity. 
But on the whole, the results of the U.S. education system are not where they need to be. Between 2000 and 2017, the United States slipped from fifth to 10th among Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries in its rate of postsecondary degree attainment. America's 13-year-olds continue to languish in the middle of the pack internationally in math and science achievement. After some hopeful progress in the early 2000s, results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) have stagnated in both reading and math. Even more alarming, the nation continues to see the effect of systemic and structural barriers to opportunity for Black, Latinx, Native American, and some Asian American and Pacific Islander children, not to mention the ongoing segregation and isolation of students from families with low incomes who are locked into under-resourced schools. Additionally, it is clear that students with disabilities, students who identify as LGBTQ, and students who are English language learners continue to grapple with added barriers to accessing a quality education.
As the 2020 elections near, the conversation about how to change the direction of the country will gain even more prominence-on education, as well as the many other critical issues Americans are facing. More and more candidates for national office are presenting ideas for how to increase access to high-quality early childhood education and how to make higher education more accessible and affordable. And yet, with a few prominent exceptions, presidential candidates have not yet taken clear positions or staked out big ideas on how to ensure that every child has an excellent school. Elementary and secondary schools are where students learn to read, write, do math, and develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities that will make them successful lifelong learners and full participants in U.S. democracy.

What's more, the public wants a focus on education. In the 2018 midterm elections, it was the second-most frequent topic of campaign ads for governors, with candidates vying to be their state's "pro-education governor." This year, education ranks third among voters' top priorities for the president and Congress.
Link to full article.

June 24, 2019

Is It Time For Government To  Offer Universal Family Care?
Consider the possible hefty caregiving needs and costs over an adult's lifetime:
  • Early child care and education runs nearly $10,000 annually for the parent of a toddler, on average.
  • Family caregivers spend roughly $7,000 on caregiving costs, on average, according to AARP.
  • The federal law requiring many employers to provide family and medical leave is unpaid leave - and 40% of workers are excluded. So if most workers take a leave to care for a loved one, they face significant wage loss. They might lose their job, too.
  • One in two people turning 65 today will need long-term care at some point; of those who'll have significant long-term care needs, the average cost will be $266,000.
Is it time for the government to offer Americans a Universal Family Care program that would help adults of all ages shoulder caregiving costs? The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), a big-ideas nonpartisan nonprofit, thinks so and just published a 297-page report laying out the way this novel, if provocative, idea could work.
"How we view these issues often gets us in trouble. We parse them into separate pieces," said Marc Cohen, chair of the NASI Long-Term Services and Supports Working Group. "What we did is say: 'Wait. Care needs really span the lifespan. Is there a way to think about this in a more holistic way?'"
How Universal Family Care Would Work
NASI's 29 care-policy experts spent a year working on that, resulting in its Universal Family Care idea and report. Universal Family Care would provide benefits for child care, paid family and medical leave and long-term care, and would be designed and offered by states through "social insurance pools," with funding largely from residents.
Heidi Hartmann, chair of the Early Child Care and Education/Paid Family and Medical Leave  Working Group says the social insurance pool idea has one big advantage over today's fragmented financing system for caregivers: "This is a benefit you will get over your lifetime."

Why do it through states and not through the U.S. government?

"Each state has unique political dynamics and demographics. Some have older populations. Some have more young families," said Benjamin Veghte, the study panel director and NASI's vice president for policy. "We wanted to offer a toolkit to states to pick what works for them."

And states, the NASI report says, have acted as "laboratories of democracy and social policy."

Link to full article.

June 20, 2019

Working Families Are Spending Big Money on Child Care  

American families are struggling with the costs of child care-a key element in the ever-rising expenses associated with middle-class opportunity. Quality, affordable child care allows parents who want to work to stay in the labor force, encourages the healthy development of young children, and supports families at a stage in their lives during which small investments return large social dividends. Absent large-scale policy action on this issue, young adults have reported child care expenses as the top reason they are having fewer children than they would like. In fact, in 2018, the U.S. fertility rate fell to a record low for the third straight year, falling below the replacement rate needed to keep the population constant from one generation to the next.

For those who do have young children, parenthood in the United States can feel like a relentless series of financial challenges. Over the past two decades, middle-class wages have barely kept pace with the rate of inflation, while the costs of securing a family in the middle class-including the necessary costs of housing, education, health care, and child care-have risen considerably. During this same time, income inequality has escalated, with wealth and incomes for the top 1 percent and the upper middle class pulling away from the rest of Americans.

Under the current policies, most parents must cover the full cost of child care on their own, an expense that few can afford. Even low-income families-whose children likely qualify for child care assistance-are often forced to pay for child care, since fewer than 1 in 6 subsidy-eligible children receives assistance. Meanwhile, to the extent that child care is affordable for parents at all, this is only because the child care workforce effectively subsidizes child care costs with low worker wages. The typical U.S. child care worker earns just $11 per hour.

In reality, most young children have working parents, making child care integral to family life. To understand better the cost burden on families and the types of arrangements that parents make to manage financially, this issue brief examines recent data on child care payments and patterns that provide insight into the types of child care that families use. This issue brief reports findings from a new analysis of child care spending data from the most recent wave of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), released in May 2019. This nationally representative survey, designed and implemented annually by the U.S. Census Bureau, offers broad-ranging, detailed information on households' income dynamics, assets, health insurance, employment, participation in assistance programs, and child care arrangements, among other subjects. The author analyzed family incomes, demographics, child care spending, and the number and types of child care arrangements used by families with at least one child under age 5.
Link to full article.
RELEASE: 60 Percent of Families Are Spending More Than Twice as Much on Child Care as What the U.S. Government Considers Affordable

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Center for American Progress released a new issue brief analyzing what families with children under age 5 are spending on child care. The study relies on new data released last month as part of the nationally representative Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which looks both at what families are spending on child care and types of child care arrangements on which families rely.

In addition to promoting economic growth, access to affordable early childhood programs is essential for helping parents stay in the workforce, encouraging healthy development and learning, and connecting families with important social services of which they may otherwise be unaware.

The brief raises serious concerns about how a lack of public investment in early care and education is increasing inequality-in terms of both wealth and access to quality early education programs-as high-income parents are increasing their investment in their children's care and education at a faster rate than ever before. Key findings from the brief include:
  • Low-income families earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level are spending 35 percent of their income-or $188 per week-on child care; middle-income families earning between 200 and 399 percent of the federal poverty level are spending 14 percent of their income-or nearly $200 per week-on child care. Respectively, these families are spending five times and twice as much of their household income on child care as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has deemed affordable. Families in these income brackets account for 60 percent of all families with children under age 5.
  • Wealthier families earning more than 600 percent of the federal poverty level are spending 7 percent of their income on child care, despite the fact that these families are twice as likely to send their children to more costly licensed programs.
  • Nearly 8 in 10 families rely on relatives to arrange care for their young children-with grandparents serving as the most common relative child care providers. Specifically, about 56 percent of young children who need child care spend at least some time in the sole care of a grandparent.
  • Less than half of families-46.7 percent-utilize licensed child care.
"It's unconscionable that low-income families in this country are spending five times what the U.S. government deems affordable child care," said Rasheed Malik, senior policy analyst for Early Childhood Policy at CAP and author of the brief. "These findings send a clear warning to policymakers that failing to take bold action to improve access to quality, affordable child care could exacerbate income inequality at a time when working families are already struggling to get by."

Just yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a spending bill that includes an additional $2.4 billion in federal child care funding. Last week, hundreds of child care advocates called on Congress to pass the Child Care for Working Families Act, which would limit child care payments to 7 percent of household income and provide free child care to low-income working families. Earlier this week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also introduced a universal child care bill that would similarly cap child care payments.

Please click here to read "Working Families Are Spending Big Money on Child Care" by Rasheed Malik.
Link to article.

June 17, 2019

How well does California care for children? New report ranks state just below Kentucky

California's efforts to improve health care for children is being dimmed by high rents and housing prices, poorly performing schools, expensive child care and a host of other challenges, according to a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

In many ways, the report reflects a familiar story for the state: Prosperity is unevenly divided, the education system is inadequate and families are worse off because of the shortcomings in public programs. The report found that more than 13 million U.S. children live in poverty.

California made only small gains compared with last year in the foundation's Kids Count report, which evaluates child well-being based on 16 measures that rate health, education, family and community, and economic well-being. The report found California had more than 1 million children living in impoverished areas, and more children than in any other state living in households where the parents or guardians lacked a high school education.
Kentucky ranked one place higher, and Tennessee ranked just below California. Almost all of the states with lower rankings than California were in the South and Southwest, with Mississippi and New Mexico ranked as the worst.
Link to full article and to see all state rankings.

June 11, 2019

When Parents Can't Find Summer Child Care, Their Work Suffers

Americans see summer as a carefree time for children, but for working parents, finding summer child care can be a logistical and financial headache. Care is expensive and hard to find, forcing parents to make difficult trade-offs between work and family life.
Joi is one mother who knows this struggle all too well. She and her husband live with their four young children in Jonesboro, Georgia. 

Joi works full time during the day, while her husband works as a police officer at night, staggering their work schedules to accommodate their child care needs. Although their family has been able to secure regular, year-round child care for their younger children, they are still searching for an affordable summer program for their oldest, 6-year-old Mason. "As of right now I don't have Mason enrolled in any summer camp. We're hoping people will drop out of the parks department camp during the first two weeks so that a spot will open up. ... I don't know what I'll do when I have to find summer care for my four kids," Joi said in a personal interview. With few options available, Joi is left scrambling for a short-term arrangement for her son-and dreading the day when she must juggle summer care for all her children.

Most children in the United States today live in families like Joi's, where all available parents are in the workforce. During the school year, many parents must find child care in the late afternoon and during school breaks. But finding child care when school lets out for the summer-without the six-hour school day and after-school programs to rely on-can be an even greater challenge. For many families, summer child care arrangements are expensive, difficult to find, and out of line with parents' work schedules.
Link to  full article.

June 5, 2019

Invest in California's Children by Investing in Early Childhood Educators 

Every day, in classrooms and home-based settings, California's early childhood educators are building the academic and social-emotional foundation of the state's youngest learners. With sufficient knowledge, skill, and experience, they are able to draw out each child's potential and help set children on a path to good health, academic success, and economic security later in life. That's the ideal, at least. In practice, however, California has undervalued and underinvested in its early childhood workforce, creating hardships for educators and undermining the many benefits of high-quality early care and education (ECE).
Nearly 60% of California's ECE educators are on public assistance. A 2016 study of ECE teaching staff in Alameda County is illustrative of the economic challenges facing ECE educators throughout the state. The study found that 75% of those surveyed worried about having enough money to pay the bills, 70% worried about housing or health care costs, and 54% worried about being able to feed their family each month. Not surprisingly, given these economic hardships, an average of one in four ECE educators in California leave the profession each year. These conditions are untenable for educators, and the stress and lack of stability have a negative impact on children's learning environments and achievement.
Link to full article.

June 4, 2019

5 Facts To Know About Child Care in Rural America 

Families across the nation are facing barriers to finding and paying for quality child care. The unique experiences of rural families can exacerbate this struggle: Many rural areas of the country have experienced stalled economic growth , have higher rates of  child poverty, and see young children entering kindergarten already   behind their metropolitan-area peers in early reading and math skills. Access to high-quality, affordable child care is especially necessary to support family economic security and early childhood development in rural communities.

This column presents five key facts to know about child care in rural America and outlines opportunities for improving access to quality, affordable child care in rural communities.
  1. On average, families in rural areas spend 12 percent of their income on child care
  2. Rural families use regular child care at rates similar to metropolitan families but are more likely to use home-based child care
  3. 60 percent of rural Americans live in a child care desert
  4. Family child care providers play an outsize role in rural child care supply
  5. A typical teacher in a rural child care center earns just $23,000 per year
Public investments in child care are necessary to support children, families, and providers in rural communities

While rural communities experience unique challenges to building and maintaining their supply of quality, affordable child care, they also offer unique opportunities to serve children and families. Several policies could be bolstered or enacted to increase access to quality child care for rural families in the United States. Increasing funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, for example, would provide child care assistance to more rural families, and increase the subsidy rate so that rural child care providers could more easily meet their operating expenses and increase the quality of their programs. And passing the Child Care for Working Families Act would limit most working families' child care payments to 7 percent of their income and make targeted investments in building the supply of licensed child care in child care deserts. Access to high-quality, affordable child care must also be central to any plan to build infrastructure in rural communities: Increasing child care supply and revitalizing child care facilities are vital to supporting not only rural communities but also the national economy.
*this was shortened for purpose of brevity, please see full article by clicking the link below
Link to article.

June 3, 2019

Federal Investment Gives Child Care Centers A Leg Up  

Kentucky's child care centers are able to offer support to more working families since the state received $42 million in additional funding last year, according to a survey by the advocacy group Kentucky Youth Advocates.

More than 120 child care providers in 43 counties said they used the funds to increase access to child care for foster parents, and to boost program eligibility for parents who might otherwise lose access to affordable child care because they got a promotion or a better paying job.

Mike Hammons, senior director of advocacy at Children, Inc., a child care provider in Northern Kentucky, says centers like his are using the boost in funding to pay for staff criminal background checks. "Criminal background checks for child care providers is extensive," he states. "The industry does not want people who would not be safe with children to be around the children. "The cost of those background checks will be borne by the child care providers and the state is going to subsidize that with this new money."

The congressional House Appropriations Committee recently approved another $2.4 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, which if supported in the Senate, would give states like Kentucky more financial assistance to help working families navigate the rising cost of child care.
Link to the full article.

May 28, 2019

Explore A Broader Definition of Health in Child Care 

Since 2015, Child Care Aware®  of America's Health Policy Team has partnered  with teams in  12  states to explore a broader definition of health in child care through our  "Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities "   technical assistance project. Along with our state partners, we conducted research, communications and advocacy projects covering diverse health topics from nutrition and active play to injury prevention and inclusion.  Child Care Resource  and  Referral agencies  (CCR&Rs)  played a pivotal role on nearly every state by connecting us to data, convening partners and lifting up provider and community voices to inform our understanding of healthy child care.  
We developed numerous tools, resources and reports to help our partners advance healthy child care in their states.  One resource we put together explores   Health and Wellness Recognition Programs , which identify and acknowledge child care programs, communities or organizations that go above and beyond minimum requirements to follow best practices for nutrition, physical activity or breastfeeding. In addition to an interactive map explaining the recognition programs in each state, we also developed an  infographic  with tips to help providers follow best practices in their child care programs.  
Visit our resource pages from  " Healthy Child Care, Healthy Communities "   Round One  and  Round Two  to learn more about the Health Policy Team's innovative technical assistance work.  
Link to article.

Invest in California's Children by Investing in Early Childhood Educators 

Every day, in classrooms and home-based settings, California's early childhood educators are building the academic and social-emotional foundation of the state's youngest learners. With sufficient knowledge, skill, and experience, they are able to draw out each child's potential and help set children on a path to good health, academic success, and economic security later in life. That's the ideal, at least. In practice, however, California has undervalued and underinvested in its early childhood workforce, creating hardships for educators and undermining the many benefits of high-quality early care and education (ECE).
Nearly 60% of California's ECE educators are on public assistance. A 2016 study of ECE teaching staff in Alameda County is illustrative of the economic challenges facing ECE educators throughout the state. The study found that 75% of those surveyed worried about having enough money to pay the bills, 70% worried about housing or health care costs, and 54% worried about being able to feed their family each month. Not surprisingly, given these economic hardships, an average of one in four ECE educators in California leave the profession each year. These conditions are untenable for educators, and the stress and lack of stability have a negative impact on children's learning environments and achievement.
Link to full article.

May 23, 2019

Child Care and Early Education Equity: A State Action Agenda -CLASP

Child Care and Early Education Equity: A State Action Agenda outlines the important role state policymakers can play to ensure equity in their states' early education efforts.  High-quality child care and early education is critical for child development and family economic security-and it can have a particularly positive impact on the wellbeing of families with low incomes. CLASP's action agenda describes key state early education programs, significant challenges such as racial disparities and underinvestment, and recommendations for how state leaders can meaningfully improve policies and programs.

Historical and institutionalized racism, which has created systemic and structural barriers to equitable access to opportunity, causes pronounced socioeconomic disparities for a large share of America's children. Young children of color are more likely than their white counterparts to live in families with low incomes, and a quarter of all children under the age of six have at least one immigrant parent. States must design their child care and early education programs to meet the diverse linguistic and cultural needs of their communities. To achieve a more equitable system,  state leaders must pay attention to the racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity-along with the inequities in opportunities and outcomes-of  young children and the early childhood workforce that serves them.
State leaders have many options and opportunities to significantly improve their child care and early education programs. They should consult a range of experts-including those with lived experience-offer professional development for providers, and expand services to underserved populations. Above all, states should meaningfully invest in child care and early education, which is an investment in the present and future wellbeing of their states.
Link to the article.


May 21, 2019

Family Voices: Turning Heartbreak to Happiness 

Even with  early and  careful planning, finding the right  child care  provider can be difficult for families.  The challenges often seem overwhelming  for parents searching for a provider that is qualified to care for a child with special needs.   
Hear from Tara as sh e shares how her  child care  journey turned from heartbreak to success after  being  connected to  a   local  Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency.
Link to full article and video.

May  20, 2019

CCR&Rs' Role in Closing Child Care  Supply and Demand Gaps -ChildCare Aware
Did you know that there are  approximately   12.5 million  children in some sort of regular child care arrangement? Yet there are communities across the country where the supply of child care doesn't meet the need for child care. Child Care Aware® of America helped states  quantify families' child care needs  through  our   Mapping the Gap™ project , and learned a lot about  child care gaps across the US :  
  • 4 in 5 children under age three in Alaska don't have access to licensed child care. 
  • 2 in 3 children under age 13 in North Dakota don't have access to licensed child care. 
  • 2 in 5 children under age six in Massachusetts don't have access to licensed child care. 
As you can see, even just a snapshot of our findings reveals a child care crisis. Child care supply often falls short of meeting the demand, leaving families with few choices for their child when they go to work. 
Link to full article and report.


Support Child Care for Working Families! -Child Care Works

Child care plays an important role in the U.S. economy, helping to generate 15 million jobs and more than $500 billion in income annually. Yet, on average, millions of working families pay more for child care than they do for mortgage or rent, transportation, or even food every month. That's why it's critical to fund child care and early learning programs so all families can afford care. Tell your congressmembers to support the Child Care for Working Families Act and thank those who already have signed on!  


May 15, 2019

Governors Propose Nearly $3 Billion of Investments in Early Learning Programs  -Center for American Progress

In 2018, a commitment to improving child care and other early childhood programs helped many gubernatorial candidates win election.  With significant majorities of Republican, Democratic, and independent voters supporting increased funding for early learning, it's no wonder that early childhood was a winning issue.  Now, those campaign promises are turning into action as governors unveil their budget proposals. A Center for American Progress analysis of the latest budget proposals of governors from 49 states -as well as the mayor of Washington, D.C.-reveals that the nation's governors have proposed a combined $2.9 billion in new state funding for child care, preschool, and home visiting programs. This number is almost one-third of federal yearly spending on Head Start, and more than seven times that of the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, demonstrating governors' strong commitment to improving early childhood programs. 
CAP's analysis of governors' most recent budget proposals found that 32 governors and District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) proposed a total of $2.9 billion in additional state funds for early care and education programs. Funding is proposed for a range of programs, such as expanding the number of families reached by home visiting programs; constructing new child care facilities; expanding full-day kindergarten; increasing the value and reach of child care subsidies; and more.



May 13, 2019

Closing the Gap: How CCR&Rs Can Help Communities Meet Their Child Care Supply and Demand Needs -ChildCare Aware

Child Care Aware® of America recognizes that Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies have a strong presence in communities throughout the country and extensive knowledge of the child care landscape. Our new report, Closing the Gap: How CCR&Rs Can Help Communities Meet Their Child Care Supply and Demand Needs, highlights examples of CCR&Rs and advocacy organizations and their approaches to ensure families' and communities' needs are met. With extensive knowledge of the child care landscape and firmly positioned in communities, CCR&Rs are uniquely qualified to identify gaps in child care supply at state and local levels.  
Click here to get the new report.


May 9, 2019

Solid Evidence for Career Pathways Out of Poverty -CLASP
Project QUEST in San Antonio was a pioneer in creating what is now known as an adult career pathway program. The program combines sector strategies, comprehensive support services, community-based career navigators, foundational skill building, and community college postsecondary training. Strong evaluation results prove the effectiveness of this model for increasing the earnings of low-income adults. Promisingly, career pathways are now a defined service delivery model for equity investments in communities of need in three federal education and workforce development laws: the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the Higher Education Act (HEA), and the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21 st Century Act (Perkins V). 
Click here for full article.


May 3, 2019

Pelosi calls for investments in child care, early education -The Hill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday voiced support for increased federal funding of early child care and education while touring schools in Massachusetts.
Joined on the trip by several congresswomen from the state, Pelosi told reporters that her primary motivation for serving in government has been improving life for younger generations, according to The Associated Press.


May 2, 2019

Special Alert! House CCDBG Ask -Child Care Works

Do you live in CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, MI, NJ, OK, WA, or WI? 
If yes, then we need YOU to contact your representative and ask them for a $5 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG)!

On April 30, the House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Subcommittee will meet to propose their budget priorities for next year. We need YOU to tell them why CCDBG needs a $5 billion increase. This critical funding will continue to assist states, providers, and parents to ensure young children are in healthy, thriving learning environments that will help them prepare school and succeed later in life. 
Follow this link to contact your representatives!


April 30, 2019

Parents take to Capitol Hill to protest skyrocketing day care costs, short maternity leaves -WUSA9

In DC, a recent study found day care for an infant is over $20,000 a year. Some single mothers are working just to pay for child care. Families from all 50 states took over the east lawn of the U.S. Capitol today, in the third annual Strolling Thunder event. Local families say they are burnt out and cashed out, forced to pay skyrocketing day care costs.
In Washington D.C., a recent study by the non-profit Child Care Aware of America, found on average the cost of child care at a center is $23,666 per year. For an infant and 4-year-old, the cost is $42,323. That number is about three times as much as the annual cost of a public university tuition.

"I'm here because her daycare does cost more than my mortgage," said Masha Sapper. Sapper is a single mother living in Silver Spring. She says she pays $1,400 for an at-home daycare, which pales in comparison to friends who pay $2,000 per month at day care centers.  
Strolling Thunder is in its third year. The group is hoping to get the attention of lawmakers to get parents nationwide more affordable, quality day care and to give parents time to bond with their baby. The study also found that for a single parent in DC, they are spending 91% of their income for one child in center-based care. 
Some changes are on the way to help DC working parents. Starting next summer, the Paid Leave Act will provide 8 weeks of paid leave so parents can bond with children. 


April 25, 2019

Inequitable Access to Child Care Subsidies -CLASP

"Child care is an essential support for families, allowing parents to work while their children learn and grow in a safe environment. Many families with low incomes qualify for child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). However, few get the help they need because funding is insufficient to serve all eligible children.

This brief examines children's access to CCDBG-funded child care by state, race, and ethnicity using publicly available data from fiscal year (FY) 2016. It builds on CLASP's previous Disparate Access research. The Office of Child Care made a change to the way it reports CCDBG participation data beginning in FY 2016. As a result, CLASP was able to analyze children's race and ethnicity concurrently for the first time. Our analysis demonstrates that access to CCDBG-funded child care is low across the board. Just 8 percent of potentially eligible children are receiving subsidies based on federal income eligibility limits. And 12 percent of potentially eligible children are receiving subsidies based on state income eligibility limits. However, access varies significantly by race and ethnicity as well as from state to state.

Compared to potentially eligible children of other racial and ethnic groups, Black children had the highest rates of access nationally. Asian and Latinx children had the lowest rates. In no state, however, did more than half of all potentially eligible children in any racial or ethnic group receive subsidies under federal or state income parameters.

Administrative data alone cannot explain this variability. Our brief analyzes potential factors that may contribute to racial disparities in CCDBG access. We also offer next steps for states to further investigate and begin to address inequities in access to child care assistance."


April 23, 2019

Child Care is Hard to Find for Children With Disabilities -Childcare Aware of America
Though the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed into law 30 years ago and is meant to protect those with disabilities against discrimination, parents and advocates continue to report problems with child care and after-school care providers with issues like lack of access, quality care, accommodations and discrimination against children with disabilities.
Federal law mandates that both publicly and privately owned child-care centers must evaluate and accommodate each child based on individual need. However, many providers often do not assess the need for accommodations, and will often reject a child before enrollment, or allow them to enroll and then kick them out of the program shortly after, due to challenges or behaviors related to their disability. Some providers also feel that taking care of a child with a disability is too much of a liability issue for them, and make excuses and refuse to allow the child to be enrolled.

Parents and families have also reported that providers would not accommodate children with any type of physical or medical need, or who was not toilet-trained, sometimes saying they did not have enough staff to assist those children. Several have been denied care for children with hearing impairments, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and those who are considered medically fragile. This leaves parents who do not have any other type of support with few options other than suing the child-care facility, which can be costly and time-consuming."


April 22, 2019

Quality Child Care Pays Off! -Childcare Aware of America
New research estimates an annual economic cost of $57 billion in lost earnings, productivity and revenue due to the lack of affordable and accessible child care. It's beneficial to both parents and employers to fix this child care crisis. 
April 18, 2019
A Bipartisan Majority in COngress Call for Appropriations to Prioritize Early Childhood Funding -First Five Years Fund
"Each year through the appropriations process, Congress determines and allocates funding for federal programs, activities and priorities. And for the past several years , Congressional appropriations bills have sustained or increased funding for the federal early learning and care programs, even as other priorities and programs have been decreased or eliminated. The annual appropriations process provides a critical opportunity each year to both protect and build upon funding gains for the core early childhood education programs. And with many competing priorities that require funding, Members of Congress showcasing the bipartisan support for, and value of early childhood education is crucial to maintaining our momentum.
On Capitol Hill, "Dear Colleague" letters convey support for these programs among Members on both sides of the aisle. Lawmakers collaborate to show appropriators the breadth and depth of support among their colleagues, and often make specific requests related to program funding levels."


April 10, 2019

Health Resource Spotlight: Family Child Care -ChildCare Aware of America
Resources to Build and Retain the FCC Workforce 
The problem:  Across the nation, the supply of family child care providers is declining. What can be done to retain existing FCC providers, and attract new providers?  
One solution:  A suite of   National Resources about Family Child Care , published on the website of the Early Childhood Training and Technical Assistance System (ECTTAS).  
FCC providers may face challenges that center-based providers don't, including a sense of isolation, long workdays, a lack of support staff, and less business expertise. Stakeholders need to understand these issues so they can develop ways to support and increase the success and stability of FCC providers. The ECTTAS site has a collection of online tools and written products specific to FCC settings.  
Online tools include a:  
  • QRIS Resource Guide to help states and communities explore key issues as they planning and implement a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS). The "search" function allows users to identify topics that are specific to FCC, such as participation, standards, and use of assessment tools. 
  • Provider Cost of Quality Calculator (PCQC), which calculates the cost of care based on provider data for FCC homes and centers. The tool can help state policymakers, child care providers, and other stakeholders understand the costs associated with delivering high-quality care. It can also show whether there is a gap between a program's cost of care and the revenue sources available to support the program. 
  • Data Explorer and State Profiles, a database that allows users to search for information about various early care and education topics, including FCC demographic information, data on licensing requirements, program quality improvement activities, and professional development and workforce initiatives. 
In addition to the online tools, the  National Resources about Family Child Care webpage has links to nearly two dozen other reports, fact sheets and webinars on the following topics:  
  • Supporting access to high-quality FCC 
  • Staffed FCC networks 
  • State policies that support the business practices of child care providers 
  • Trends in licensing regulations and policies for FCC homes 
  • License-exempt FCC 
  • The demographics of home-based ECE providers 
  • Supports for improving access to and sustainability of FCC 
  • Supports for FCC providers who serve infants and toddlers 
  • Compliance with health and safety requirements
Senate Budget Committee Passes FY2020 Resolution; House to Focus on Spending Cap -ChildCare Aware of America
On March 28, the Senate Budget Committee passed its resolution that would cut nondefense discretionary funding by $55 billion in FY2020 and would not raise the spending caps. It would also reduce mandatory spending by $551 billion over the next five years, possibly impacting programs like Medicaid and SNAP. It's unclear when, or if, this resolution will move to the Senate floor. 
The House will forgo a budget resolution this year, and instead, push a spending cap proposal. The House could vote on this legislation this week.
A Plan to Expand Tax Credits, Lifting Several Million Out of Poverty -CLASP
"The U.S. tax code is the single largest way the government supports wealth and asset building. However, a  disproportionate share of federal tax benefits is funneled to  wealthy, White households that own homes and businesses and have savings and investment accounts. The Working Families Tax Relief Act (WFTRA), introduced by Senators Sherrod Brown (OH), Michael Bennet (CO), Dick Durbin (IL), and Ron Wyden (OR), strengthens the  Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and  Child Tax Credit (CTC), recognizing the importance of tax policy in promoting economic mobility. If enacted, the Act's changes would raise the incomes of  46 million households.    

The EITC is a refundable tax credit for low- and moderate-income earners that provides income and supports work. The CTC is a partially refundable tax credit that helps working families with the cost of raising children and is worth up to $2,000 per eligible child (under age 17). The EITC and CTC have positive effects on health, asset building and savings, and educational achievement in children. For instance, credits as little as $1,000  have been shown to improve children's test scores and increase the likelihood of those children attending college and earning high wages as adults. 
In conjunction with the CTC, the EITC lifted  8.9 million Americans out of poverty in 2017-including 4.8 million children-and reduced the depth of poverty for an additional 7.7 million people. Nevertheless, one of the EITC's biggest flaws is the paltry credit it provides to adults who are not raising children, which is too small to offset childless workers' tax liability. As a result, the tax code essentially taxes some of these workers into poverty-even after they receive the EITC. The WFTRA addresses this concern by expanding the EITC for childless workers by raising the maximum credit from $529 to $2,074 and expanding the age range from age 25-64 to 19-67...."

March 29, 2019

Can We Rewrite the History of Undervaluing Child Care Workers -National Women's Law Center

" Child care workers are responsible for providing safe, nurturing environments for children while parents work or go to school. Despite the importance of their work, child care workers are too often underpaid and stressed, affecting their ability to support their own families and to provide quality care to the children they serve.  Typical wages for child care workers are less than $11 an hour  - pay that leaves more than one in six women who are child care workers living below the poverty line. Poverty rates are even higher for women of color in the child care workforce, especially those who are supporting children of their own. In one survey of early childhood teaching staff, nearly three-quarters expressed worry about having enough money to pay their bills, while almost half said they were worried about having enough food for their families . Low wages also make it challenging for child care providers to recruit and retain quality workers, undermining the stability and quality of care."
Link to article.

March 22, 2019

"All Families Should Be Able to Afford Childcare, and Here's How... A new bill would also make sure childcare providers earn a living wage" -The Nation

"Only about one in six children who are eligible for childcare assistance in America actually receive it. In most states, childcare costs more than  tuition  at a four-year public university. And more than  50 percent  of neighborhoods in America have a demand for childcare that exceeds supply.

But the Child Care for Working Families Act, reintroduced last month by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott and largely overlooked by the media, aims to change that. The legislation, which has been endorsed by all of the Democratic presidential candidates who are in Congress, would reach three in four children under age 13 by making quality childcare affordable for every low- and middle-income family who needs it. It would also provide a living wage to teachers, the majority of whom are low-income women of color. Childcare workers earn an average of  $22,310 annually, and over  75 percent of them earn less than a living wage."

Link to article.

March 18, 2019

A One-time Child Care "Investment" Won't Support Working Families

Set in the context of a budget proposal that disinvests in nearly all programsthat make a difference for children and families, the Trump budget attempts to show "support" for working families with a one-time child care investment of $1 billion over 5 years, but we are not fooled. A quick look at the details makes clear how little this would actually do to support working families or provide child care for children and families with low incomes.

If this proposal were approved, states would access the funds through a competition-but would only be eligible to receive funding if they remove "unnecessary regulations." Removing these regulations could threaten the basic protections that keep children safe and eliminate standards that are the building blocks of high-quality child care.

If the Trump Administration and Congress truly want to help working families and their children succeed, they should start by investing more in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which is the foundational funding states rely on to help families pay for child care. But the president's proposal flat funds CCDBG and does not address the significant unmet need for child care among working families and, in fact, would cause the program to reduce the number of children it serves as the result of inflation costs. 

Click here to be directed to the full article.

March 11, 2019
Submit a Comment on SNAP Changes by April 2!

SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is a proven anti-hunger, anti-poverty program that helps young children and their parents, working adults, disabled individuals, and the elderly gain access to healthy food. 

Currently, the federal government is seeking comments on a proposed rule that would drastically change the work requirements for SNAP and make it harder for people to access the program. The destabilizing effect of this proposed rule could harm over 750,000 people and cut $15 billion from SNAP.

We are calling on CCR&Rs and advocates to submit a comment to this proposed rule, telling the federal government you oppose this harmful change in policy. 

STEP 1: Download template and edit with your own personal message and/or story. 

Template for CCR&Rs

Template for Advocates

STEP 2: Upload your comments to the Regulations.gov site by April 2 at 11:59 pm EST.

Submit comments here.

(If you have trouble downloading the templates,send an email and we will make sure you can access them in a different format.)

Comments are due April 2, 2019 and we strongly encourage you write to the USDA with your thoughts. 

Thanks for all you do for children and families!

Chrisi West

Director of Advocacy  

March 4, 2019
Child Care in State Economics - 2019 Update- Committee for Economic Development

Provides an update to CED's original report from 2015 to reflect the most currently available data. The 2019 Update examines the child care industry's effect on parents' participation in the labor force, and provides extensive details regarding the industry's impact on 

regional economic growth and development, including: usage rates, the role of public funding, revenues, and business structure. The report was commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development, produced by the economic firm, Region Track, Inc., and generously supported by the Alliance for Early Success.

Link to the website and more fact sheets

March 4, 2019

Child Care Advocates Applaud  Reintroduction of Child Care for Working Families Act - Child Care Aware of America, Jay Nichols; February 26, 2019

"Earlier today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA) introduced the "Child Care for Working Families Act of 2019" on Capitol Hill.  At the press conference, Senator Murray was joined by Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Bob Casey (D-PA), as well as several parent advocates. The legislation is nearly identical to the 2017 version.

Child care plays an important role in the U.S. economy, helping to generate 15 million jobs and more than $500 billion in income annually. Families need child care so they can work, and children need a safe place where they can learn and continue their healthy development. Unfortunately, far too many low-income families do not have access to high-quality care, or cannot afford it. Over the past decade, the cost of child care has remained high, which has forced families to make the difficult decision of trying to afford putting their child in child care or leaving the workforce altogether.

On average, millions of working families pay more for child care than they would for a mortgage/rent, transportation needs, or food every month. The Child Care for Working Families Act would ensure low-income families pay no more than seven percent of their annual income on child care, help young children gain access to preschool, and for the child care workforce.

Child Care Aware® of America proudly endorses this legislation and encourages all members of Congress to support this bill. Contact your members of Congress and ask them to sponsor this legislation, or thank them for their current support."

TAKE ACTION Contact Your Congressmember!

Link to article.

February 4, 2019

The Importance of Investing in the Child Care and Development Block Grant- Women's Law Center

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care program, was enacted in 1990 in response to women's growing participation in the workforce and the struggle of these working women to find affordable, high-quality child care. Congress approved a $2.37 billion increase in March 2018. The new federal funds are essential to help address existing gaps in the child care assistance program. Only one in six children eligible for federal child care receives it. And only one state set its provider payment rates at the federally recommended level of February 2018.

Click here to download.

January 28, 2019

New Report Shows Nonstandard Hours of Work Cause More Obstacles For Families and Children- Child Care Aware of America

 Working Parents Need More Than "Day" Care

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) released its Nonstandard Hours (NSH) Paper: "It's About Time! Parents Who Work Nonstandard Hours Face Child Care Challenges,"  which found that the inadequate supply of NSH child care is problematic and raises concerns about access to safe, affordable, and quality child care for many families in our country. In today's economy, where anyone can work 24/7, many parents struggle to find reliable, affordable NSH child care. NHS is defined as hours worked outside the traditional Monday through Friday work week. By 2020, occupations requiring nonstandard schedules are projected to see the most employment growth.

In the 2014 Survey of Income and Program Participation, 43 percent of all children under 18 in the United States have at least one parent who works NSH. This translates to about 31 million children who may need NSH care. Child care during nonstandard working hours is extremely limited when available and often, unlicensed.

With a declining child care provider market, it's even harder to find NSH care. Many parents turn to a collection of center-based child care, home-based child care, and child care provided by family, friends, and neighbors. Lack of access to a consistent caregiver puts a strain on both parents and children in a number of ways and this report highlights that.

Report Highlights

  • Our Mapping the Gap efforts with the state of Massachusetts. We focused on NSH - specifically, the current supply of child care providers around the sites of two proposed casinos and one existing casino.
  • Factors that affect the likelihood of needing NSH care including poverty, lack of paid leave, and irregular work schedules.
  • More than one in four Americans with low incomes work a nonstandard hours job.
  • Few states have regulations focused on NSH of care, especially for family child care. Realistic regulations for care during NSH could help to further expand licensed care.

CCAoA works with state Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies to track the cost of care for children by age and setting, then compares each state's costs to its median income, ranking the states by affordability for each category of care. CCAoA's  interactive mapshows the relationship between costs and median income by state. The organization has also partnered with the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) to add this year's data to an  online interactive calculatorof child care expenses by area.

Congress recently justified the more than $2.3 billion increase to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) saying, "...the department should work with states to ensure they are meeting the needs of families with nontraditional work hours." However, more research needs to be done to determine the best practices for programs operating during nights and weekends in order to determine what those standards need to look like.

States, communities and businesses are implementing innovative solutions to meet the NSH child care needs of their employees and of military families. Located in 47 states with touch points at the local, state and national levels, CCR&Rs are a vital resource for families, child care professionals, businesses and community stakeholders. CCR&Rs can connect families to child care providers offering care during evenings and weekends, and can be instrumental in recruiting, retaining and providing outreach to qualified providers to build the supply of NSH care in their communities.

To read and download 2018's The US and the High Cost of Child Care and supplemental interactive map and fact sheets,

January 14, 2019

If the government shutdown continues into February, there may not be sufficient funding for food assistance for SNAP to provide full benefits for that month. The problem only gets worse if the shutdown continues into March.

As a result, millions of low-income households - including millions of poor children, parents, elderly people, and people with disabilities - could have their basic food assistance cut back substantially next month and then virtually eliminated altogether in March if the shutdown continues.

The President stated several days ago that the shutdown could go on for months or even years.  

What will happen in coming weeks with respect to SNAP thus is cause for very substantial concern.

Read the report.

November 26, 2018

Public Charge Early Childhood Template for Public Comments

Our friends at CLASP have put together some very helpful resources for all of us to participate and send our comments during the public charge open comment period. Submitting organizational and individual comments is crucial as its a way to make our voices heard and make it clear that immigrant children and their families could be greatly affected if this proposed rule is finalized.

More background and action items: 

On October 10, the long-anticipated "public charge" proposed rule was published in the federal register for a 60-day comment period. The rule proposes to expand the forms of public assistance that are counted in a "public charge" determination, which may be used to deny individuals entrance to the United States or lawful permanent residency.  It establishes standards for income, health, age, and English language proficiency for immigrant families seeking long-term stability. If enacted, the rule would make immigrant families afraid to seek programs-such as Medicaid and SNAP-that keep children and families healthy and fundamentally change who we are as a nation.

This proposal will have a major impact on millions of young children in immigrant families.

Please find attached template comments written especially for the early childhood field. We ask that you modify these comments to reflect your unique perspective or expertise and have included prompts in the template for you to do that. The  Protecting Immigrant Families campaign is using a sector-based strategy for generating a large number of unique comments in opposition to this rule. Template comments are being written from the perspective of 40+ different sectors. If you receive more than one template for commenting, we encourage you to use the template or sections of the templates that are most relevant to your expertise or perspective. By law, every unique comment must be read and considered by the federal government. Public comments must be submitted to the federal register by December 10th.

For more information:

October 1, 2018

Last weekend, the Trump Administration announced a very harmful draft proposal that would change the definition of a "public charge" in an effort to support its ongoing and extreme overhaul of U.S. immigration policy.   

A "public charge" is a policy implemented by the federal government to identify people who may depend on benefits (TANF, Supplemental Security Income, long-term care) to support themselves and their families. The social safety net and programs like these support the wellbeing of families and communities. Under current policy, the United States can deny an immigrant/refugee admission to the country, or refuse an application for residency, if it's determined that the person(s) would be a public charge.

The Administration's proposal would considerably expand the public charge definition, putting millions of families at risk by forcing them to forgo any public assistance in an effort to remain in the country. This proposed rule would target many programs that help low-income families, including:

*    Non-emergency Medicaid

*    Subsidies provided through the Affordable Care Act

*    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

*    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

*    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

*    Housing assistance such as Section 8 vouchers, and

*    State and local assistance programs

In addition, the Administration is considering adding the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to the list of benefits. 

This rule would impact the lives of millions of children and families who not only rely on the programs listed above but also those who depend on child care assistance and other critical education and health programs. In fact, many immigrant families have already disenrolled from these programs even though current U.S. public charge policy still remains.
The Administration is expected to officially publish this proposal soon and will seek comments for 60 days after its release, and we strongly encourage you to respond. In addition, Child Care Aware® of America is working closely with the National Immigration Law Center and CLASP and you can access  key resources here. Also, we strongly urge you to join the webinar both organizations are hosting on  October 3 or October 17. Both are scheduled for 1:00 pm EST. 

Please continue to follow Child Care Aware® of America for further updates, and feel free to contact us with questions. You can read Child Care Aware of America's official statement here .  


October 1, 2018

New data out today from the U.S. Census Bureau show that progress for low-income Americans came to a near halt during the first year of the Trump Administration, in sharp contrast to previous years of progress. In 2017, the poverty rate fell slightly to 12.3 percent and the number of people in poverty was statistically unchanged from 2016, compared to the substantial decline in poverty in the previous two years (from 14.8
percent in 2014 to 13.5 percent in 2015 and 12.7 percent in 2016). While median household income rose for all households-at a far lower rate than in previous years-the improvement was concentrated among those in the top half of incomes

 Click here to read the full article.

October 1, 2018

After several years of lower poverty rates, higher income, and broader health coverage, gains slowed - and in some cases stalled - in the states in 2017, new Census data show. For example, fewer states reduced their share of people below the federal poverty line (about $25,000 for a family of four), according to new state data from the American Community Survey. Because policy decisions affect whether people get a real shot at economic opportunity and communities thrive, states should do what they can to reverse the decline in progress.

Today's data show that:

  • Poverty fell in 21 states in 2017 and rose in two (Delaware and West Virginia), compared to 2016 when it fell in 25 states and rose in just one.
  • Child poverty, in particular, fell in 16 states in 2017, compared with 23 in 2016. It rose in one state, New Hampshire. (See chart.)
  • Fewer states saw incomes rise, likely due in part to a  slowdown in employment gains, and income gains were not shared equally across racial and ethnic groups, as I've explained.

Click here to read the full article by Erica Williams.

September 4, 2018
Protect SNAP Benefits In The Farm Bill 

Members of the conference committee are working on a final version of the Farm Bill, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is a proven anti-poverty and anti-hunger program supporting low-wage working families, seniors, children, and people with disabilities, and it is at risk of massive cuts that could lead to one million working families losing access to these benefits.

Make sure the House and Senate conferees working on this legislation protect SNAP benefits as the Senate version of the bill proposes, and oppose any cuts to this critical program in a final Farm Bill.

Click here to communicate to your elected representatives.