Today, flanked by Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle, President Obama put pen to paper and signed S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 into law. After 18 years without any Congressional action, the Child Care and Development Block Grant was finally reauthorized and revised to include general provisions to improve the quality of child care nationwide.
“Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA) has been advocating for many of these changes to the Child Care and Development Block Grant program for almost two decades,” said Lynette Fraga, Executive Director at Child Care Aware® of America. “For far too long, this program lacked key protections for children and families receiving federal assistance for child care, but now, with this bill becoming law, the quality needle has finally moved to ensure that children are in a safe setting, that promotes their learning and healthy development.”
The legislation most recently passed the United States Senate by a vote of 88-1 on Monday, November 17, 2014 following a multi-year process taking the bill through both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Originally introduced in June 2013 by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Tom Harkin (D-IA), S.1086, then titled the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2013, was a bill that would reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant program for the first time in almost two decades, while including some baseline safety and quality measures.
S.1086 includes measures to:
• Promote quality child care by increasing state-level investments in activities to improve the quality of care, enhancing states’ ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services.
• Strengthen health and safety requirements in child care programs and providers.
• Improve access to child care by expanding eligibility for participating families and helping families connect with quality programs that meet their needs
In the years since the last reauthorization of the program as part of welfare reform in 1996, we've learned that many states have lacked basic measures to protect families and children and this bill goes a long way to ensuring providers that accept federal funds meet some basic requirements, like background checks, training, and inspections.
Learn more about the Child Care and Development Block Grant