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President Obama Signs Child Care Bill into Law

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, flanked by Senators and Representatives from both sides of the aisle, President Obama put pen to paper and signed S.1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, into law. After 18 years without any Congressional action, the Child Care and Development Block Grant has finally been reauthorized and revised to include basic provisions to improve the quality of child care nationwide.

"Child Care Aware® of America has been advocating for many of these changes to the Child Care and Development Block Grant program for almost two decades," said Lynette Fraga, Executive Director at Child Care Aware® of America. "For far too long this program lacked key protections for children and families receiving federal assistance for child care but now, with this bill becoming law, families can finally rest assured that their children are in safe settings that promote learning and healthy development."

The legislation passed the United States Senate by a vote of 88-1 on Monday, November 17, 2014 following a multi-year process taking the bill through both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The bill was originally introduced in June 2013 by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Richard Burr (R-NC), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Tom Harkin (D-IA).

In the years since the last reauthorization of the program as part of welfare reform in 1996, many states have lacked basic measures to protect families and children. This bill goes a long way toward ensuring child care providers that accept federal funds meet mandatory basic requirements like comprehensive background checks, training requirements, and regular facility inspections.

S.1086 also includes measures to:

  • Promote quality child care by increasing state-level investments in activities to improve the quality of care, enhancing states' ability to train providers and develop safer and more effective child care services
  • Strengthen health and safety requirements in child care programs and for child care providers
  • Improve access to child care by expanding eligibility for participating families and helping families connect with quality programs that meet their needs

Child Care Aware® of America polling shows the majority of parents assume that the standards now required by the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act were already in place. Data shows that parents overwhelmingly believe licensed caregivers are trained in child development and safety, undergo a background check, and that their child care programs are regularly inspected. In too many states, this was, historically, not the case.

"Not only does the Child Care and Development Block Grant provide a great model for bi-partisan, bi-cameral policymaking in an age where the practice seems passé, but it will, for the first time in the history of this program, provide meaningful protections for families, regardless of geography or income," said Nick Vucic, Senior Government Affairs Associate at Child Care Aware® of America.

More information on the implementation of this new legislation and other child care data and policy resources can be found at usa.childcareaware.org.

About Child Care Aware of America

Child Care Aware of America is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR &Rs) and other community partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offer comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. To learn more, visit usa.childcareware.org. Follow us on Twitter @USAChildCare and on Facebook at facebook.com/usachildcare.

CONTACT: Judy Francis Communications and Marketing Associate Child Care Aware of America news@usa.childcareaware.org Phone: (703) 341-4159

Source: Child Care Aware of America