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VP Harris Announces Landmark Childcare Reforms to Alleviate Financial Strain on Working Families

In a move towards easing the financial burden on working families, Vice President Kamala Harris unveiled a comprehensive set of measures to lower childcare costs and provide crucial support for early educators. The White House noted in a Fact Sheet that the initiative aligns closely with President Biden’s historic Executive Order on Care. The White House said the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule that bolsters the Childcare & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, a cornerstone for childcare assistance benefiting over a million families monthly.

Under the new rule, families participating in CCDBG will now face a cap on co-payments, limiting them to no more than 7% of their income. Administration officials asserted that the move is expected to alleviate the significant financial strain that high co-payments have placed on working families, particularly those with low incomes. The HHS projects that more than 100,000 families will see their co-payments reduced or eliminated due to these reforms.

Moreover, the rule urges states to eliminate co-payments entirely for families facing specific challenges, such as those with disabilities, experiencing homelessness, in foster care, in Head Start, and families at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.

Financial relief is not limited to families alone. Officials said the rule also addresses the challenges faced by childcare providers. States must now pay CCDBG providers more fairly and on time, which is designed to improve financial stability for approximately 140,000 childcare providers. This change is anticipated to incentivize more providers to participate in the CCDBG program, leading to a broader range of childcare options for families.

Additionally, the rule seeks to streamline access to CCDBG subsidies by encouraging states to adopt online applications for enrollment, which reduces the paperwork burdens currently faced by families, with nearly one-third of states still relying on paper applications for childcare assistance. Further, the new rule promotes adopting presumptive eligibility policies, allowing families to receive temporary and immediate financial assistance for childcare while their eligibility for the program is determined and verified. Currently, only six states offer presumptive eligibility to families.

Administration officials said the comprehensive reforms underscore the Biden-Harris team’s commitment to addressing working families’ pressing challenges, making quality childcare more accessible and affordable for all.


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