Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) introduced an amendment (S.Amdt. 2838) that was added by voice vote to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization bill (S. 1086). The amendment specifies that child care certificates, which provide greater parental choice in selecting child care facilities, are an option for states to increase the supply and improve the quality of child care. The CCDBG program helps provide subsidies to lower-income families in need of child care in order to work or go to school. In addition to including certificates in state CCDBG strategies, Thune’s amendment would also ensure that the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) does not promote the use of grants or contracts over the use of child care certificates as a means of expanding access to quality child care.
“One of the challenges to getting Americans back to work is finding affordable child care opportunities,” said Thune. “My amendment provides flexibility for families to find the child care that best meets their needs, which is particularly important in rural areas that may have limited child care opportunities. I am pleased that this amendment is included in the CCDBG reauthorization, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find more ways to support working families.”
In May of 2013, HHS issued a proposed rule to make changes to the Child Care and Development Fund program to increase the supply of child care by contracts or grants rather than certificates. Using certificates gives parents more choice in selecting a child care provider that meets the needs of their family.
The Senate is expected to vote on final passage of S. 1086 later today.