By Loren Yadeski
Caring for the child has always been a major concern for all societies around the world. It is a universal need – the society sees the child as the continuation of itself so it naturally takes steps to ensure that the child survives so society itself survives as well. In the US, the need for quality child care has been growing and more people are realizing that proper child care cannot just be left to individuals who have no actual vested interests in seeing the children grow up to be good, productive citizens of the country. As a response to this need, Congress has initiated the establishment of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCBDG) Act of 1990. This program aims to support needy families through initiatives that will improve the quality of child care in the country and make it available and affordable to children and their families. The task of administering this program is given to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Through the CCBDG, all the US states will be given up to $2 billion in funds to be spent in providing quality child care assistance to families in the low income bracket. The states have the discretion to develop and maintain their own child care assistance programs but will have to follow guidelines established by the federal government. Each state on their own can establish limits on income eligibility, parent co-payment fees and periods of re-determination. In addition, each state may also make changes in the policies at any time as long as they pass through regulatory, administrative or legislative processes.
Parents who are working, studying or are in training can qualify for assistance in the CCDBG program. They can also qualify if their child is in protective custody of the court. As stated above, each state has the discretion in defining what constitute work, study or training that parents are in. Parents receiving child care grants retain the right to choose a legally operating daycare provider and have unlimited access to their children while under the care of providers. The CCDBG’s main beneficiary however, remains to be very low income families and children with special needs.
Again, each state may establish their own limits in terms of income and may add more categories of children as needed. Federal guidelines for the CCDBG say that each state must give the assurance that child care provider costs are at sufficient levels to make sure that all eligible children have equal access to quality child care. And since the child is the main beneficiary of this program, when determining eligibility based on immigration status, each state may only consider the status of the child and not that of the parents.
Under the CCBDG program, beneficiary states must spend a minimum of 4% of all funds allocated to them on activities that will increase the availability and quality of child care. Additionally, funds must also be spent for programs that will lead to increase of parental choice and consumer education to the public in general and to the parents in particular.
About the Author: Loren Yadeski, author of this article, is knowledgeable in
child care and daycare grants
. If you live in Iowa, check out
DaycareGrants.org — Iowa
for more detailed information on how you can avail of financial aid grants for daycare facilities in Iowa.