Why Some States Leave Federal Child Care Grants on the Table

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Why Some States Leave Federal Child Care Grants on the Table

By J.B. Wogan

Among all the state public assistance programs, subsidized child care is widely seen as one of the most “work-oriented.” Parents can work, look for work or take work-related training while their children get safe supervision in a licensed facility. Because of this, the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant tends to garner more bipartisan support than many other safety-net programs.

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Yet in the past few years, a handful of states have cut back on child care spending, forgoing millions in federal matching grants. The economic downturn affected demand as well as states’ ability to find the money to take advantage of the program. But now some of these states are looking to beef up their child care budgets so that they can trigger the federal match again. “It’s not a widespread issue, but for these states, it’s been an ongoing issue,” says Hannah Matthews, an analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), a research and advocacy group in Washington, D.C. Last year, Matthews co-wrote a paper for CLASP that found state and federal spending on child care assistance was at a 12-year low and the number of children receiving government-subsidized child care services was its lowest point since 1998. KEEP READING >>


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