Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich voted for the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, a bill to help expand access and improve the quality of child care for children and families. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 88 to 1 and will move the President’s desk to be signed into law.
“Finding affordable, quality child care is critical for working families in New Mexico. By strengthening federal investments in child care and development we will contribute enormously to improving the long-term education and well-being of New Mexico children,” said Sen. Heinrich.
First passed in 1990, the Child Care and Development Block Grant serves as the primary source of federal funding for child care assistance and helps provides child care services for low-income family members who work, train for work, or attend school. In New Mexico, the grant serves 19,800 children monthly and has provided $39,774,805 in total funds for child care and development.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 would specifically:
- Reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990 through FY2020;
- Strengthen coordination with Early Learning Advisory Councils who develop high-quality, comprehensive systems of early childhood education and care;
- Allow families to maintain eligibility for child care subsidies for 12 continuous months regardless of financial or work status change
- Expand eligibility by taking into account the needs of families, including a parent's irregular work schedule and giving parents ample opportunity to prove eligibility;
- Ensure children are in safe environments that support their physical emotional and cognitive development by providing health and safety training for child care providers, incorporating mental and behavioral health support, and requiring comprehensive background checks before issuing licenses; and
- Provide support of low-income and at-risk children and families by prioritizing quality care for children from low-income families in areas of concentrated poverty or unemployment.