Collins, GOP colleagues seek more federal funding for child care block grant

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and several of her Republican colleagues urged U.S. Senate appropriations leaders to substantially double funding for the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). 

“As you develop the fiscal year 2023 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, we respectfully request that you put funding for CCDBG on a path to double in five years,” the lawmakers wrote in a May 23 letter sent to U.S. Senate Appropriations subcommittee leaders. “Of the many funding priorities before your subcommittee, there are few as crucial to America’s working families as child care assistance provided through CCDBG.” 

The letter, which was also signed by U.S. Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Todd Young (R-IN), underscored the success of the CCDBG framework in keeping childcare programs open for families during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These past two years have crystallized the direct link between child care and parent employment,” Sen. Collins and her colleagues wrote. “CCDBG proved itself to be the exact right architecture for delivering federal child care assistance during the pandemic.”

The senators pointed out that Americans can’t work if they don’t have safe and reliable child care, which also enables them to participate in an education or training program. And they noted that breakdowns in child care force parents to leave work early, arrive late to work, miss a shift or full day of work, and to become distracted while at work. 

More CCDBG funding would allow states to continue improving upon the enhancements they’ve made to their CCDBG programs during the pandemic to better serve families, children, teachers, and providers, they wrote.

Sen. Collins in March also joined 10 Republicans to introduce the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization Act of 2022, S. 3899, which would improve the affordability of childcare programs and protect the ability of parents to choose the provider that best fits their needs, according to a bill summary provided by the senator’s office.

S. 3899 is sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and original cosponsors including Sens. Collins, Murkowski, Burr, and Young, as well as U.S. Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Jerry Moran (R-KS).