Bi-Partisan Child Care Bill Signed by President Obama Recognizes Child Care’s Crucial Role in Poverty Reduction, But Fails to Match New Dollars to New Demands on System
Raising California Together, a coalition of children’s advocates, early education organizations, labor unions and civil rights groups released the following statement from Mark Friedman and Tonia McMillian, Co-Chairs of the Raising California Together coalition, after President Obama signed S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 into law yesterday.
“The bi-partisan legislation signed by President Obama today represents an important milestone for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, a cornerstone of federal efforts to help parents in low-income jobs lift their families out of poverty.
“The new rules, passed on a 88-1 vote in the Senate, recognize the insecurity built into today’s low-wage jobs, giving parents more flexibility to keep their children in early learning settings after employment changes. The bill reauthorizing the program for the first time in nearly two decades also takes important steps to improve child care safety and quality.
“While we are pleased by the Congress’ overwhelming recognition of the importance of child care to low-income families and the nation’s economy, we are disappointed that the new mandates do not come with the dollars needed to ensure the program’s success.
“Twenty-five years after researchers identified a crisis of poverty in the child care workforce, the evidence of the value of early learning is without question, but family child care providers still struggle to attain economic dignity. After important victories in raising minimum wage standards, action is needed at the state and federal levels to address the shortage of quality, affordable child care that fuels the cycle of poverty and to give child care providers a voice to advocate for system improvements and economic security
“We are committed to implementing S.1086 in California in a swift and collaborative process that strengthens our child care system by recognizing the voices of all system stakeholders and that expands access to early learning for children, regardless of their zip code, and creates good jobs in place of poverty jobs for the family child care providers who are the heart of our child care system.