oec: EARLY CHILDHOOD COMMISSIONER URGES CONGRESS TO ALLOCATE MORE FEDERAL FUNDING TO SUPPORT CONNECTICUT CHILD CARE
2016

EARLY CHILDHOOD COMMISSIONER URGES CONGRESS TO ALLOCATE MORE FEDERAL FUNDING TO SUPPORT CONNECTICUT CHILD CARE


(HARTFORD, CT) – Connecticut Early Childhood Commissioner Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor today testified before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, urging Congress to allocate additional federal dollars to states for implementing important policy changes to child care programs.

 

In 2014, Congress reauthorized the Child Care Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) and at the time adopted much needed new rules that make it easier for parents to comply with the program and ensure their children continue to remain in the program upon a sudden change in their status, such as a slight change in family income or a shift in a parent's work hours.

 

In her testimony, Commissioner Jones-Taylor commends Congress for greatly improving the CCDBG program when it reauthorized it in 2014.  The changes bring new, and much needed, focus on quality and continuity of care for children enrolled in the Care4Kids program.

 

The Commissioner testified that the focus on quality, continuity of care, and basic health and safety are long overdue – and that focus should be celebrated. However, the challenge for Connecticut and many other states is that these changes significantly increase the annual cost of care per child. 

 

"The abrupt benefit cliffs that were built into the prior rules were creating a significant hardship for families who were struggling to pay their bills and put food on the table, but suddenly found themselves ineligible for child care for what could have been a sudden change in their work hours or other subtle reasons," Commissioner Jones-Taylor said.  "We absolutely applaud the new policy changes and urge them to remain in place. However, we also have to acknowledge the costs that come with it. That’s why we urge Congress to appropriate more dollars so that we can ensure children receive the care they need and so that we can expand eligibility."

 

Costs for Connecticut's CCDBG program, known as Care4Kids, is expected to increase by approximately $33 million in Fiscal year 2017 under the new rules.  To address this fiscal shortfall, beginning July 1, 2016, eligibility for working parents applying for the program will change from 50 percent to 30 percent of the State Median Income.  Currently, there are 4,448 families enrolled with incomes between 31 percent and 49 percent of the State Median Income, which translates to 6,158 children ultimately denied access to the child care subsidy upon redetermination.

 

The full text of the Commissioner's testimony can be found here.











Content Last Modified on 7/7/2016 9:45:10 AM