Sen. Hagan visits Greensboro daycare, urges Congress to support the childcare block grantBy Yasmine Regester
Published: January 26, 2013
U.S. Senator Kay Hagan visited Greensboro last week to discuss the need for Washington to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) which is 16 years overdue for reauthorization.
“This grant is so important in providing the quality care and early leaning every child needs. So important to every mom, dad, and child,” said Hagan.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to assist working families with the cost of providing child care. The CCDBG is the primary source of federal funding for childcare assistance.
States use the resources provided by the CCDBG to help low-income families gain access to quality, affordable child care and after-school programs. The CCDBG provides funding to help parents pay for the care of their choice, whether in a family childcare home, with a relative or a friend, or in a childcare center. This grant was last reauthorized in 1996.
According to Robin Britt, executive director of Guilford Child Development, there are 2,436 families on the waiting list for childcare in Guilford County. “The best return on investment is investing in early learning. I’m concerned that there are over 2,400 hundred families that cannot get subsidized care.”
The block grant also allows each state maximum flexibility in developing child care programs and policies that best suit the needs of children and parents within that state; empowers working parents to make their own decisions on the child care that best suits their family’s needs; and encourages states to provide consumer education information to help parents make informed choices about child care.
Another goal of the grant is to assist states in providing childcare to parents trying to achieve independence from public assistance. According to Britt, many families utilizing the subsidized childcare programs are not getting any government assistance at all. Typically, parents are paying eight to ten percent of their income to childcare.
Hagan noted, “There are a lot of unemployed people who are going back to school to be retrained so they can find employment but without safe, quality childcare it prevents parents from being able to actually go to work. It has to be a quality investment because we can’t afford to waste these funds.”
Hagan sat down with Britt and other childcare specialists to discuss how the grant benefits the N.C. early education system.
Wanda Young, director at Elm Street Daycare said, “We need the block funds for childcare in the whole state reopened. We see the children who benefit from it and what a difference it will make if we don’t have it.” Other federal funds from the government only provide money to operate from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m., but the block grant money will provide funding to operate an additional four hours from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Britt noted that the first three years of a child’s life is critical to learning and development.
Jessica Hollowell, who has been an Elm Street Daycare teacher for 10 years said, “At that young age, their minds are growing and developing and they are really looking towards their caregivers for guidance. Its important to expose them to education as early as possible.”