Legislation would amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to ensure access to quality child care for homeless children and families
ARLINGTON, VA-- Child Care Aware® of America announced its support for the Improving Access to Child Care for Homeless Families Act, S. 3476, introduced Wednesday by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). This legislation would help homeless families find safe and quality child care, which would improve parents’ ability to return to work and secure housing.
“Families with children are the fastest growing group among the homeless,” said Ollie M. Smith, Interim Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “The children are particularly at risk and would benefit from quality child care programs.”
One out of every 45 children younger than 18 in the United States is without a home, with 42 percent of homeless children under the age of 6, according to a recent report from the National Center on Family Homelessness. As a result of the recent economic downturn, almost 500,000 more children were pushed into homelessness, an increase of 38 percent.
Mothers who have experienced homelessness were less likely than their housed peers to have received child care subsidies and are also more likely to report quitting jobs or school due to problems with their child care. Compared to stably-housed families, homeless families relied at higher rates on informal sources of care, such as family, friend, or neighbor care. Reports find that young children who are homeless have more developmental delays, and more health and mental health problems, than low-income housed children.
Currently, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the law that allocates funds to states for child care, does not provide states with any guidance on how those funds are to be used to improve access to child care for homeless families. To ensure that homeless families have access to quality child care, Child Care Aware® of America recommends that states be required to describe how they will meet the needs of homeless families in their state child care plan, including how to improve outreach to homeless parents about quality child care.
“Quality child care could make a big difference to children from families who are homeless,” said Smith. “I hope Congress can find a way to ensure these families have access to quality child care.”
Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies), is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies 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 professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.