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Press Release - Vice President Kamala Harris Announces New Action to Reduce Child Care Costs for More Than 100,000 Families Throughout America

February 29, 2024

WASHINGTON – Today, Vice President Kamala Harris announced critical steps to lower the cost of child care for more than 100,000 working families across America. The Biden-Harris Administration's new rule will cap the cost of child care at no more than seven percent of income for families enrolled in the Child Care and Development Block Grant program (CCDGB), saving families more than $200 per month on average. The new rule, filed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), also allows states to waive payments entirely for some families and helps pay child care providers faster and more fairly, which will help raise wages for child care workers.

"President Biden and I believe that every family in our nation should be able to access affordable child care," said Vice President Harris. "Today, we are taking another important step forward by lowering the cost of child care for more than 100,000 working families that receive federal child care assistance. President Biden and I will continue fighting to cap child care costs at $10 a day for millions of American families and make preschool free for all four-year-olds as we once again call on Congress to get it done."

"Child care is a necessity for most working families across the country. Today we are taking an important step to reduce costs for families and give them more child care options," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "When families have access to affordable, quality child care, they can pursue job opportunities, cover other basic needs, and go to work knowing their children are safe. That's why the Biden-Harris Administration has made investments in early care and education a top priority – and why we will continue to take actions to support families across the country."

Today's new rule makes much-needed updates to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which is the nation's largest funding stream to help families afford child care and improve quality in child care settings. The changes include:

  1. Capping co-payments at no more than 7% of income for families that are participating in CCDBG, which will save families an average of over $200 a month in states that do not yet cap co-payments.
  1. Encouraging states to eliminate co-payments entirely for families of children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, children in Head Start, and families at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.
  1. Directing states to pay child care providers more fairly and on time, which will improve financial stability for 140,000 child care providers and incentivize more providers to participate in the CCDBG program.
  1. Making it easier for families to access CCDBG subsidies by encouraging states to streamline eligibility and enrollment processes and reduce red tape that can disrupt parent employment, training, and education.

This final rule delivers on President Biden's April 2023 Executive Order on Increasing Access to High-Quality Care and Supporting Caregivers, which directed HHS to reduce child care costs and improve child care payment practices.

"We have an opportunity to make improvements for child care providers, who do the critical work of caring for our youngest learners and supporting working families," said Ruth Friedman, Director of the Office of Child Care at HHS' Administration for Children and Families. "When child care providers are financially healthy, the whole community benefits."

Vice President Harris has consistently led on this effort to bring child care to all families who need it. In July, she announced the proposed version of today's announcement to lower child care costs and support child care providers. She and President Biden also continue to call on Congress to pass their early childhood plan for all families, which would cap child care costs at $10 a day for the average family and make high-quality preschool free for all four-year-olds. Additionally, the Vice President has been a strong champion for restoring the full expanded Child Tax Credit that helped cut child poverty nearly in half.

Vice President Harris has spent her entire career fighting for the health, safety, and wellbeing of families. As District Attorney of San Francisco, she focused on crimes against women and children. As Attorney General of California, she established the Bureau of Children's Justice within the California Department of Justice. While a U.S. Senator, she also worked to align school hours with work hours, expand after-school and summer programs, and guarantee paid leave for families.

A fact sheet about today's rule can be found here. Additional information on this rule may be found here.

Kamala Harris, Press Release - Vice President Kamala Harris Announces New Action to Reduce Child Care Costs for More Than 100,000 Families Throughout America Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/370203

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