• <div class="header-image" style="background-image: url(/live/image/gid/4/2611_Header_V6N2_web_4.rev.1518551584.jpg);">​</div><div class="header-background-color"/>

Why We Need to Prioritize Child Care

August 19, 2016

Affordable, high-quality child care is not only crucial for children’s development, but it enables parents to work and support their families while giving them the peace of mind that their children are in safe environments. Unfortunately, this summer the House and Senate approved Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bills for FY17 that include some very bad news for working families in need of child care assistance.

By Abbie Starker, C’17

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) was not sufficiently funded to meet new health and safety requirements or to assist the many families who are eligible for child care subsidies but do not receive them.

In November 2014, The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act was signed into law with overwhelming bipartisan support, reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program for the first time since 1996. The Child Care and Development Fund is the the country’s primary source of federal funding for child care subsidies for low-income working families as well as the primary source of funding for improving the quality and safety of child care programs, and the reauthorization represented a significant re-envisioning of CCDF. The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act set in place new health and safety requirements for child care providers, outlined new eligibility policies for families who need child care assistance, and works towards providing transparent information about the choices families have about child care.

The problem is that states cannot implement the new health and safety requirements of CCDBG without significantly more funding than they have received in the past. Even though Congress members on both sides of the isle strongly supported CCDBG, they have since failed to sufficiently fund it, which has led to awful consequences for thousands of children and families across the country.

Experts have calculated that CCDBG would require an increase in funding of $1.2 billion for FY17 if states were to meet the new requirements and prevent a further decline in the number of children receiving child care assistance [1]– which has already decreased by 43,000 children between 2013 and 2014 alone [2]. But despite this clear need for additional child care funding, the Senate Appropriations Committee increased CCDBG funding for FY 2017 by only $25 million [3] and the House Appropriations Committee increased CCDBG funding for FY 2016 by only $40 million [4]. This is simply not enough.

Due to insufficient federal funding, many families with incomes too low to afford child care on their own are unable to receive child care assistance under their states’ restrictive eligibility limits. In 2015, a family with an income above 150 percent of poverty ($30,135 a year for a family of three in 2015) was ineligible for assistance in 17 states. A family with an income above 200 percent of poverty ($40,180 a year for a family of three in 2015) was ineligible for assistance in 39 states [5]. But even if families are eligible for child care assistance, they may not necessarily receive it.

Currently, only one in six children eligible for child care assistance under CCDBG receives it [6]. Furthermore, in 2015, 21 states had waiting lists for assistance or turned away eligible families without adding their names to a waiting list. In many states, waiting lists are extremely long—over 25,000 children in Massachusetts, over 31,000 children in North Carolina, and over 51,000 children in Florida as of early 2015 [7]. Studies have shown that many families on waiting lists struggle to pay for reliable, good-quality child care in addition to other necessities, or must use low-cost, lower quality care. Some families cannot afford any child care at all, which can prevent parents from working [8].

Congress’s failure to substantially increase child care funding simply does not make sense. Research clearly shows that high-quality child care not only helps low-income parents get jobs and lessens the negative effects of poverty and instability, but also supports children’s healthy development and success in school. We must make the needed investments in child care, otherwise it will be low-income children and families and the caregivers who support them who will suffer.

  

Reference List

  [1] Center for Law and Social Policy, “$1.2 Billion Investment Needed in 2017 to Implement CCDBG Reauthorization,” Center for Law and Social Policy, CLASP, March 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/1.2-billion-factsheet.pdf

  [2] Center for Law and Social Policy, “Child Care Assistance Spending and Participation in 2014” Center for Law and Social Policy, CLASP, March 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/CC-Spending-and-Participation-2014-1.pdf

  [3] The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, “FY2017 Labor, HHS & Education Appropriations Bill Cleared For Senate Consideration,” The United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, June 9, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/060916-FY17-LaborHHS-Approps-Full-Committee-Markup-Summary-Web.pdf

  [4] The United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, “A BILL Making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, and for other purposes,” The United States House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, July 2016. [Online[. Available: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-laborhhs-subcommitteedraft.pdf

  [5] K. Shulman and H. Blank, “Building Blocks: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2015,” The National Women’s Law Center, October 27, 2015. [Online]. Available: https://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/CC_RP_Building_Blocks_Assistance_Policies_2015.pdf

  [6] Office of The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, “Estimates of Child Care Eligibility and Receipt For Fiscal Year 2012,” Office of The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, November 24, 2015. [Online]. Available: https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/estimates-child-care-eligibility-and-receipt-fiscal-year-2012

  [7] Building Blocks, 9-26.

  [8] K. Schulman and H. Blank, “In Their Own Voices: Parents and Providers Struggling with Child Care Cuts,” National Women’s Law Center, 2005. [Online]. Available: https://nwlc.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/childcarevoicesreport_september2005.pdf

Student Blog Disclaimer
  • The views expressed on the Student Blog are the author’s opinions and don’t necessarily represent the Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative’s strategies, recommendations, or opinions.

PENN WHARTON PPI
RESOURCE SPOTLIGHT:

  • <h3>NOAA National Climatic Data Center</h3><p><img width="200" height="198" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image483 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/198/483_noaa_logo.rev.1407788692.jpg 3x" data-max-w="954" data-max-h="945"/>NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) is responsible for preserving, monitoring, assessing, and providing public access to the Nation’s treasure of <strong>climate and historical weather data and information</strong>.</p><p> Quick link to home page: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCDC’s climate and weather datasets, products, and various web pages and resources: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/quick-links</a></p><p> Quick link to Text & Map Search: <a href="http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/" target="_blank">http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cdo-web/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The Penn World Table</h3><p> The Penn World Table provides purchasing power parity and national income accounts converted to international prices for 189 countries/territories for some or all of the years 1950-2010.</p><p><a href="https://pwt.sas.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt71/pwt71_form.php" target="_blank">Quick link.</a> </p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>The World Bank Data (U.S.)</h3><p><img width="130" height="118" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image484 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/130/height/118/484_world-bank-logo.rev.1407788945.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1406" data-max-h="1275"/>The <strong>World Bank</strong> provides World Development Indicators, Surveys, and data on Finances and Climate Change.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states" target="_blank">http://data.worldbank.org/country/united-states</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Congressional Budget Office</h3><p><img width="180" height="180" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/180/380_cbo-logo.rev.1406822035.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image380 lw_align_right" data-max-w="180" data-max-h="180"/>Since its founding in 1974, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has produced independent analyses of budgetary and economic issues to support the Congressional budget process.</p><p> The agency is strictly nonpartisan and conducts objective, impartial analysis, which is evident in each of the dozens of reports and hundreds of cost estimates that its economists and policy analysts produce each year. CBO does not make policy recommendations, and each report and cost estimate discloses the agency’s assumptions and methodologies. <strong>CBO provides budgetary and economic information in a variety of ways and at various points in the legislative process.</strong> Products include baseline budget projections and economic forecasts, analysis of the President’s budget, cost estimates, analysis of federal mandates, working papers, and more.</p><p> Quick link to Products page: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/about/our-products</a></p><p> Quick link to Topics: <a href="http://www.cbo.gov/topics" target="_blank">http://www.cbo.gov/topics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Internal Revenue Service: Tax Statistics</h3><p><img width="155" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image486 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/155/height/200/486_irs_logo.rev.1407789424.jpg 2x" data-max-w="463" data-max-h="596"/>Find statistics on business tax, individual tax, charitable and exempt organizations, IRS operations and budget, and income (SOI), as well as statistics by form, products, publications, papers, and other IRS data.</p><p> Quick link to <strong>Tax Statistics, where you will find a wide range of tables, articles, and data</strong> that describe and measure elements of the U.S. tax system: <a href="http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2" target="_blank">http://www.irs.gov/uac/Tax-Stats-2</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Bureau of Economic Research (Public Use Data Archive)</h3><p><img width="180" height="43" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/43/478_nber.rev.1407530465.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image478 lw_align_right" data-max-w="329" data-max-h="79"/>Founded in 1920, the <strong>National Bureau of Economic Research</strong> is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. The NBER is committed to undertaking and disseminating unbiased economic research among public policymakers, business professionals, and the academic community.</p><p> Quick Link to <strong>Public Use Data Archive</strong>: <a href="http://www.nber.org/data/" target="_blank">http://www.nber.org/data/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>MapStats</h3><p> A feature of FedStats, MapStats allows users to search for <strong>state, county, city, congressional district, or Federal judicial district data</strong> (demographic, economic, and geographic).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/" target="_blank">http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>HUD State of the Cities Data Systems</h3><p><strong><img width="200" height="200" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image482 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/200/height/200/482_hud_logo.rev.1407788472.jpg 3x" data-max-w="612" data-max-h="613"/>The SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.</strong> It is a portal for non-national data made available through a number of outside institutions (e.g. Census, BLS, FBI and others).</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html" target="_blank">http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/socds.html</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>National Center for Education Statistics</h3><p><strong><img width="400" height="80" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/400/height/80/479_nces.rev.1407787656.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image479 lw_align_right" data-max-w="400" data-max-h="80"/>The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education in the U.S. and other nations.</strong> NCES is located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences. NCES has an extensive Statistical Standards Program that consults and advises on methodological and statistical aspects involved in the design, collection, and analysis of data collections in the Center. To learn more about the NCES, <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/about/" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p><p> Quick link to NCES Data Tools: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/datatools/index.asp?DataToolSectionID=4</a></p><p> Quick link to Quick Tables and Figures: <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/quicktables/</a></p><p> Quick link to NCES Fast Facts (Note: The primary purpose of the Fast Facts website is to provide users with concise information on a range of educational issues, from early childhood to adult learning.): <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/" target="_blank">http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/#</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED®)</h3><p><strong><img width="180" height="79" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/79/481_fred-logo.rev.1407788243.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image481 lw_align_right" data-max-w="222" data-max-h="97"/>An online database consisting of more than 72,000 economic data time series from 54 national, international, public, and private sources.</strong> FRED®, created and maintained by Research Department at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, goes far beyond simply providing data: It combines data with a powerful mix of tools that help the user understand, interact with, display, and disseminate the data.</p><p> Quick link to data page: <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series" target="_blank">http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/tags/series</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>USDA Nutrition Assistance Data</h3><p><img width="180" height="124" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image485 lw_align_right" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/180/height/124/485_usda_logo.rev.1407789238.jpg 3x" data-max-w="1233" data-max-h="850"/>Data and research regarding the following <strong>USDA Nutrition Assistance</strong> programs are available through this site:</p><ul><li>Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) </li><li>Food Distribution Programs </li><li>School Meals </li><li>Women, Infants and Children </li></ul><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics" target="_blank">http://www.fns.usda.gov/data-and-statistics</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>
  • <h3>Federal Aviation Administration: Accident & Incident Data</h3><p><img width="100" height="100" alt="" src="/live/image/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg" class="lw_image lw_image80 lw_align_left" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/4/width/100/height/100/80_faa-logo.rev.1402681347.jpg 3x" data-max-w="550" data-max-h="550"/>The NTSB issues an accident report following each investigation. These reports are available online for reports issued since 1996, with older reports coming online soon. The reports listing is sortable by the event date, report date, city, and state.</p><p> Quick link: <a href="http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/" target="_blank">http://www.faa.gov/data_research/accident_incident/</a></p><p>See all <a href="/data-resources/">data and resources</a> »</p>