New Measure Would Help Prevent Avoidable Tragedies
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Child Care Aware® of America announced its support for S. 1086, the Child Care Development and Block Grant Act of 2013, introduced today in the U.S. Senate, which would better protect the health and improve safety of children in child care settings across America.
“This bill moves the nation forward ensuring children are safe and receiving the best early learning experiences while in child care,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “Children’s early years are proven to be the most impactful time to create strong learners. This bill sets the standard all families expect for their children.”
The bi-partisan measure, co-sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), would reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the primary federal grant program that provides child care assistance for families and funds child care quality initiatives. CCDBG was last reauthorized in 1996.
“These Senators have stepped up to the plate to protect children," said Fraga. "It’s time for the Congress to reauthorize CCDBG and ensure that children across America are not in dangerous settings that put their well-being and healthy development at risk.”
Each week, nearly 11 million children under age 5 are in some type of child care setting for an average of 35 hours. It is important that during these hours, children are in a safe environment that promotes their growth and development. Too many children remain in settings that do not meet minimum standards of health and safety. The bill introduced todayensures that providers take necessary basic steps to protect children from an avoidable tragedy, including requiring comprehensive background checks based on fingerprints, new workforce training standards, early learning and development guidelines, and the development of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS).
Child Care Aware® of America has issued seven licensing studies that show state laws regarding child care settings vary greatly. The most recent report, We Can Do Better: 2013 Update, scored and ranked the states on their state child care center program requirements and oversight policies. The average score was 92 out of a total possible score of 150 – for a grade of 61 percent.
Child Care Aware® of America 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 families in every local community have access to high 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 improve 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.usa.childcareaware.org.