March 13, 2014

Udall Votes to Improve Early Child Care for New Mexico Families

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined the Senate in voting 97-1 to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. The program, which had not been updated in nearly 20 years, helps New Mexico families obtain safe, reliable and affordable child care while they work, or pursue an education or career training. The bipartisan reauthorization modifies the program based on current research on child development to better align child care health and safety standards with up-to-date knowledge about child well-being.

"Child care is essential for many working families and vital for parents who want to go back to school to get training that will help them qualify for a better-paying job. Every family should be able to afford quality, dependable child care if they need it," Udall said. "Today's bipartisan vote to update the Child Care and Development Block Grant program improves the health and safety of child care in New Mexico and across the country. The changes we approved today will ensure child care workers have better training, and undergo background checks and get certifications in First Aid and CPR. And it will give parents the confidence that their children are getting good care in a safe, supportive learning environment."

The CCDBG Act of 2014 reforms the Child Care and Development Block Grant program by placing a new focus on the quality of child care, and strengthening federal safety standards. The legislation modifies the existing law though the following measures. It:
- Requires comprehensive background checks for all licensed child care providers and providers receiving CCDBG funds.
- Develops 13 required health and safety standards including First Aid and CPR, prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and child abuse prevention.
- Requires states to inspect child care programs prior to issuing licenses.
- Requires states to post the results of health and safety inspections online so parents may make more informed choices about child care providers.
- Promotes continuity of child care by allowing states to recalculate families' eligibility for care no more than once every 12 months for most families.
- Improves program quality and prioritizes access to high quality care.

New Mexico currently receives $39,774,805 annually in CCDBG funding, which the state of New Mexico matches with a share of $5,402,319. In FY 2012, the average monthly subsidy for a family with one child ranged from $365 to $467 depending on the age of the child.