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March 7, 2024

A Federal Push to Support Affordable Care

It has never been more important to ask candidates to speak to their policy plans for child care.
Lynette Fraga and Diane Girouard, Child Care Aware of America

On March 5, “the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule strengthening the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which supports over a million children and their families each month with child care assistance,” according to a newly released White House Fact Sheet.

While high income families typically pay 6-7% of their income on care, working low-income families pay as much as 31%. Even some families receiving CCDBG subsidies can still pay as much as 27% of their income for care.

Even as many families struggle to afford care, CCDBG providers often receive late payments, further stressing the already difficult balance between offering affordable care, providing quality programs and offering respectable compensation.

Quoting from the Fact Sheet, the ruling will:

  • Cap co-payments for families participating in CCDBG to no more than 7% of income, saving families in states that do not yet cap co-payments over $200 a month on average;
  • Encourage states to eliminate co-payments entirely for families of children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, children in Head Start, and families at or below 150% of the federal poverty level;
  • Direct states to pay child care providers more fairly and on time, improving financial stability for 140,000 child care providers and incentivizing more providers to participate in the CCDBG program; and
  • Make it easier for families to access CCDBG subsidies by encouraging states to streamline eligibility and enrollment processes and reduce red tape that can disrupt parent employment, training, and education.

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