CWLA Supports Expanding Child Care for Low Income Working Parents

Child Welfare League of America
Tuesday, 16 April 2002

The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) announced it is pleased to offer its strong support for legislation aimed at increasing the affordability and availability of child care for low income working parents. The Access to High Quality Child Care Act (S. 2117) is federal legislation that strengthens the child care assistance program, the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) by improving the quality of child care through the promotion of school readiness and expansion of child care assistance to more families.

Introduced on April 11, 2002, by Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), and James Jeffords (I-VT), S. 2117 is cosponsored by Michael DeWine (R-OH), John Breaux (D-LA), Jack Reed (D-RI), John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), and Susan Collins (R-ME).

"As a nation, we have an ever-growing need for quality child care," said Shay Bilchik, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Child Welfare League of America. "CWLA enthusiastically supports this bipartisan effort and appreciates the Senators' commitment in addressing the critical need for improving and expanding child care assistance for the more than 14 million eligible children. We look forward to working with the sponsors to reach that goal."

Today, 78 percent of mothers with school-age children are working and 65 percent of mothers with children under six are working. More than half of mothers with infants are working. Record levels of single parents with young children are in the workplace, up from 63.5 percent in 1996 to 73 percent in 2001. Increasingly, working families need two incomes to make ends meet and therefore, need even greater access to higher quality, affordable child care which will require new investments.

The Child Care Development Fund was first authorized in 1996 with the landmark welfare reform law. CCDF provides more than $4.8 billion for child care in 2002, giving assistance to those families that are in transition from welfare to work and to help those continue to stay out of the welfare system by assisting with the high cost of child care. Currently, only 14 percent of eligible children are being served.

In reauthorizing this legislation, S. 2117 attempts to address some of the key problems facing the nation's child care system. It includes funding to:

- Promote workforce development, improve child care provider compensation and benefits, and scholarships for training in early childhood development.

- Help States increase the reimbursement rate for child care providers, ensuring that parents have real choice among quality providers.

- Address other quality initiatives that seek to strengthen local child care services through the provision of resources, technical assistance, training, and information.

S. 2117 is currently pending in the Congress. Action on welfare reform and child care is expected within the next few months.

Established in 1920, the Child Welfare League of America is the nation's oldest and largest membership-based child welfare organization. Headquartered in Washington, DC, CWLA strives to advance sound public policy on behalf of the more than three million abused, neglected, and vulnerable children served by its more than 1,175 public and private member agencies. To further its mission of preserving, protecting, and promoting the well-being of all children and families, CWLA conducts research, develops standards of best practice, hosts regional and national conferences, provides comprehensive, field-based consultation and professional development services, and is the largest publisher of child welfare materials in North America.

For more information, or to contact Child Welfare League of America, see their website at: www.cwla.org

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