Scott Introduces Amendment to Maximize Parental Choice in Child Care for Low-Income Families

Scott Introduces Amendment to Maximize Parental Choice in Child Care for Low-Income Families

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Washington – U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) today introduced an amendment to maximize parental choice in child care, nullifying attempts by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to limit the options parents and states have in regards to Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds. The amendment would revise the CCDBG Act of 2014 (S. 1086), which is scheduled to come to the floor of the Senate this week.

Senator Scott’s amendment would clarify that the CCDBG Act does not favor or promote the use of grants or contracts over the use of child care certificates or vouchers, nor does it adversely impact the use of certificates in faith-based or other settings. The most recent HHS data, from 2011, shows that South Carolina uses only certificates to supply care to families in South Carolina under the CCDBG program.

“We have seen that this administration’s preference for limiting individual choice, be it in education, health care and now child care, simply is not the best path forward for American families,” Scott said. “With HHS’ proposed rule to limit parental choice in child care as well as flexibility available to states, this amendment was necessary to ensure parents keep the options they have today in regards to caring for a most important part of their lives – their kids.”

S. 1086 reauthorizes the CCDBG program, originally established in 1990 with a primary goal “to promote parental choice to empower working parents to make their own decisions on the child care that best suits their family’s needs.” The last reauthorization was in 1996 as part of the welfare reform act and expired in 2002. CCDBG is the primary source of federal funding for child care services, providing block grants to states for child care subsidies for low-income, working families.

States currently have the flexibility to provide for the payment of child care services through certificates, grants or contracts, and nationally 90 percent are awarded as vouchers. However, HHS has proposed a rule to increase the use of grants and contracts over certificates, limiting parental choice in child care.