Legislation Update

Part of a state-wide network of referral agencies, Child Care Connection serves Mahoning, Medina, Portage,

Summit, Stark, and Trumbull Counties in Ohio.

Federal Budget Finally Passes*

          Terrie Hare, Ohio Head Start Collaboration Director  

We did it - through our advocacy work, Congress heard our voices and  finally  passed the FY 2001 budget, which not only includes historic increases in funding for child care, Head Start, and after-school programs, but also authorized new early childhood programs.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) was increased by $817 million to a total of $2 billion in discretionary funds.  States will have this money to use for child care subsidies as of October 1st this year.  States must spend at least 4 percent of the CCDBG funds to increase the quality of child care.  They do not have to match these funds (i.e. contribute any state funds to receive them.) 

Congress set aside $173 of the $2 billion for additional quality building activities, $100 million to improve the quality and expand the supply of infant and toddler care (up from $50 million last year), $10 million for child care research, $19 million for school-age care and resource and referral programs, and $1 million for the Child Care Aware's toll-free child care hotline. 

Head Start received its biggest increase in history - $933 million - bringing it to a total of slightly over $6 billion.

  The 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program received a $392 million increase for after school programs bringing total funding to $846 million. 

The campus-based child care program was increased by $20 million for a total of $25 million. 

In addition to increasing funds for existing programs, Congress also enacted and funded two new early childhood education programs: the Early Learning Opportunities Act ($20 million) and the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development program ($10 million). 

The Early Childhood Educator Professional Development provides grants for activities to improve the knowledge and skills of early childhood educators and caregivers who work in urban or rural communities with high concentrations of young children living in poverty; administered by the U.S. Department of Education.  There is also funding for the first time for the loan forgiveness program for child care staff seeking higher education.

 The Early Learning Opportunities Act will allow states to provide funds to councils in local communities to improve early childhood supports to children and families.  Councils will be able to choose to fund new infant and toddler initiatives, home visiting parent education programs, initiatives to bolster the quality of child care, efforts to expand the hours of part-day Head Start or prekindergarten programs, or other family strengthening activities.  The initiative was inspired by North Carolina's Smart Start program and similar state-based efforts.

 In addition, the bill includes at least $2 million for a new demonstration program to fund national and regional intermediaries to give technical assistance to low-income child care providers. 

If we want Congress to continue to support changes for children, it's very important to thank those who helped to make these increases for children and families possible. 

Please write or call and thank:

Senator Arlen Specter         (202) 224-4254
Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Ted Stevens           (202) 224-3004
Chairman, Committee on Appropriations
U.S. Senate 
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Tom Harkin             (202) 224-3254
Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Christopher Dodd   (202) 224-2823
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Senator James Jeffords       (202) 224-5141
Chairman, Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510  

Senator Ted Kennedy         (202) 224-4543 
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Representative David Obey  (202) 225-3365
Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515


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* Information for this article from the CDF & NAEYC electronic newsletters.


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