Columnists

Young, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Expand Child Care Options for Families

Yesterday, U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) introduced the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization Act of 2022, legislation to build on Congress’ 30-year record of bipartisan work to support and enhance child care programs across the nation.

This legislation, which serves as an alternative approach to the child care proposals Democrats pushed in their bill, would improve affordability of child care programs and allow parents to choose the provider that best fits their family’s needs. The CCDBG Reauthorization Act also includes key elements of Senator Young’s Early Educators Apprenticeship Act which addresses child care workforce pipeline issues by supporting apprenticeships.

“Hoosier families are counting on us to correct the Democrats’ proposed government takeover of child care and preschool that parents don’t want and can’t afford. We introduced this bill to allow parents maximum choice in child care and preschool providers to best suit their families. I’m also encouraged that this bill will create stronger support for child care teachers to attain post-secondary degrees and credentials, a major feature of my Early Educators Apprenticeship Act,” said Senator Young.

“The Democrats’ child care proposals would take a wrecking ball to our child care system and replace it with a one-size-fits-all approach that limits families’ options,” said Senator Scott. “I believe there is a better way. This bill improves upon a program that has already helped families afford a variety of options to care for the most important people in their lives: their kids.”

“Working parents need affordable, reliable, and safe child care that best fits their family’s needs,” said Senator Burr. “Throughout the pandemic, as public schools closed, child care providers across the nation remained open, thanks in large part to the architecture and flexibility of the CCDBG program. As many states now face a shortage of affordable child care, the last thing Congress should do is force through unpopular, partisan proposals that many states will reject and that will leave millions of children uncovered. Instead, we should build on existing, bipartisan, and successful programs, like CCDBG. I’m proud to work with Senator Scott on this important legislation.”

Cosponsoring the bill along with Senators Young, Scott, and Burr, were Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

Background:

Rather than create two new child care and preschool entitlement programs, as the Democrats proposed, the CCDBG Reauthorization Act of 2022 makes responsible enhancements to the historically bipartisan CCDBG program, which has assisted working families with their child care and preschool needs for the last 30 years. Specifically, the reauthorization:

  • Increases family eligibility for CCDBG;
  • Ensures an eligible family making less than 75 percent State Median Income (SMI) pays no child care copay and that no eligible family has a copay greater than 7 percent of family income;
  • Improves reimbursement rates for child care providers so they can recruit and retain qualified staff;
  • Supports the education and professional development of child care staff;
  • Expands the supply and capacity of child care providers so working parents have multiple quality child care options to best suit their family’s needs; and
  • Removes unnecessary regulations that restrict home-based child care providers in rural areas.

Read full text of the bill at https://www.scott.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/KIN22074.pdf.