On Friday, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued the final regulations implementing the 2014 reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These regulations represent an important step forward for children and families. They strengthen health and safety requirements, increase low-income children’s access to stable child care, take steps to improve the quality of child care and the early child care workforce, and help parents make informed consumer choices and support their children’s development.
It is most exciting that the final regulations establish policies to stabilize child care assistance for families. This will lead to more consistent care for children and improve parents’ ability to work or stay in school. For example, the regulations reduce onerous reporting requirements so that if a parent has a modest change in income or a temporary job loss they will be able to maintain their child care assistance for a minimum of twelve months. And the regulations require agencies to consider child development and continuity of care when authorizing child care, and do not require agencies to restrict child care to the hours of parents’ work or education. Families will also be able to take advantage of a graduated phase-out of subsidies so they can keep their child care assistance if their earnings exceed the initial state eligibility level .
The final regulations respond to many of the recommendations of the advocates who joined together to submit the comments here.
Look for our deeper dive into the 600 pages of the final regulations.
We will also be working with advocates to secure new federal and state investments in child care. These will be key to ensuring that sufficient funding is available to states to support the important improvements brought about by the new law and regulations and to increase the number of children and families who are able to benefit from child care assistance.