The Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) is seeking input from the public and interested stakeholders on strategies to improve access to high-quality, affordable child care in the U.S.
A “Request for Information” posted today seeks public input identifying emerging and innovative practices to improve access to high-quality child care, as well as identification of any regulatory and other policies that unnecessarily drive up the cost of care or limit the safe, nurturing child care choices available to parents.
Child care is an investment that supports both present and future generations of the workforce. “Improving access to safe, high-quality child care that enables parental employment and supports child and youth development is a top priority for ACF and this administration—as shown in support for a record 40 percent increase in the child care block grant to states,” said Lynn A. Johnson, assistant secretary for ACF. “But there is more to do. We are seeking promising innovations and new ideas from around the country to inform policy that better supports the success of working families.”
Child care is one of the biggest expenses a family faces and can be a barrier to work. The cost of center-based child care for two children exceeds home mortgage costs in 35 states and D.C. and annual median rent payments in every state. At the same time, child care settings are a place of learning and education for children from the time they are infants and toddlers through their school-age years. Further, care is needed beyond the traditional work day to assist workers with fluctuating schedules and to meet afterschool and summer needs. The request for information comes as ACF is undertaking a series of roundtable discussions across the country to hear directly from the public – including parents, providers, employers and state officials — on child care.
“Access to quality learning opportunities at home and in care is foundational to children’s development and, ultimately, their success in school and in life,” said Shannon Christian, director of ACF’s Office of Child Care. “This administration has already led important advancements. We are focused on listening to the public’s ideas for improving access that supports the unique needs of parents and children.”
The Office of Child Care supports low-income working families through child care financial assistance and promotes children’s learning by improving the quality of early care and education and afterschool programs.
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