Help for families struggling to pay for quality child care, such as the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), is, pivotal to supporting quality child care in the nation. Strategically, states are already investing CCDBG funds in raising the quality of child care programs, as well as in efforts to improve affordability of and access to child care that support workforce participation throughout the economy. We need data from states to understand the child care landscape and help guide state and community-level decision-makers, policymakers, child care advocates, and program administrators in their push for accessible, affordable, quality child care.
In 2014, with the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), all states were required to have stronger licensing standards. States were then searching for tools to both document their current licensing regulations and develop benchmarks toward meeting best practices for health and safety. To meet that need, we developed CCAoA’s Child Care Licensing Database.
Last week, Child Care Aware® of America’s (CCAoA) Research Team attended the latest public convening for the Committee on Financing Early Care and Education with a Highly Qualified Workforce, sponsored by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The committee is studying how best to fund early care and education for children from birth to kindergarten entry so that education is accessible, affordable to families, and of high quality. They are also tasked with including proposals for a well-qualified and adequately supported early childhood education workforce. CCAoA has a long history examining the cost and financing solutions for child care at the state and federal level. Our annual report, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care, discusses not only the unaffordability of child care but also the creative financing strategies that states and localities have used to help defray the cost of child care from parents. We were especially interested in hearing what experts across the country had to share on the subject.
It was a crisp breezy fall morning as I drove my car into the garage near my job. Suddenly my cell phone rings and I look at the caller ID and take a deep breath. Sigh…it’s my daughter’s child care provider again.
You might be wondering, “What is a Child Care Desert?”. Just as food deserts — urban areas where it’s difficult to buy affordable, fresh food — can have an adverse impact on nutrition, “child care deserts” identifies an absence of an essential commodity to support the workforce that results in limited access, which current child care systems do not meet.
I’m a working mom of three kids. Now that the school year is almost over for my two older kids, it hit me - next year I’ll have one in middle school, one in elementary, and one in preschool. I’m not sure if we’ll keep our current before- and after- school care situations. And I’m still figuring out where everyone will be this summer!