Child Care Aware® of America Supports the Infant and Toddler Quality Improvement Act
Legislation would amend the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to improve the quality of infant and toddler care.
Arlington, VA – Child Care Aware of America announced its support for the “Infant and Toddler Quality Improvement Act, S. 3436” introduced Thursday by U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN). The bill would authorize funds to address the shortage of quality infant and toddler care and improve the overall quality of programs serving infants and toddlers.
“Parents throughout America have difficulty finding and affording quality infant and toddler child care,” said Ollie M. Smith, Interim Executive Director of Child Care Aware® of America. “We need to ensure that infants are safe in child care and that infant care is high quality.”
More than 6 million children younger than age 3 are in the care of someone other than their parents every week. On average, children are in a child care setting for about 35 hours a week. Forty-six percent of infants and toddlers under age 3 live in low-income families, and 24 percent live in poor families. In 2010, 16.5 percent of infants and 24.2 percent of toddlers of employed mothers were in care in an organized facility (such as a child care center) and another 16.9 percent of infants and 16.3 percent of toddlers of employed mothers were in family child care homes.
“We commend Senator Franken for his commitment to children and for making quality child care for infants and toddlers a top priority through the introduction of the Infant and Toddler Quality Improvement Act,” Smith said.
Currently, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the law that allocates funds to states for child care, does not provide states with any guidance on how those funds are to be used to improve the quality of infant and toddler care. To ensure that children are in settings that are safe and promote healthy development, Child Care Aware® of America recommends that states are provided the flexibility of choosing from several effective options to improve program quality and to strengthen the workforce for infants and toddlers, including establishing statewide networks of family child care providers and infant and toddler specialists, as well as establishing other statewide initiatives.
“Child Care Resource and Referral agencies in every state work to improve the quality of infant and toddler care,” said Smith. “I know we can all play a role together to ensure the best care possible for infants and toddlers. Parents expect no less.”
Child Care Aware® of America (formerly NACCRRA, the National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies), is our nation's leading voice for child care. We work with more than 600 state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. To achieve our mission, we lead projects that increase the quality and availability of child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate child care policies that positively impact the lives of children and families. To learn more about Child Care Aware® of America and how you can join us in ensuring access to quality child care for all families, visit us at www.naccrra.org.