Affordable Day Care & After School Programs
During the 2021 session, I was able to fulfill a commitment to my community to prioritize affordable access to childcare for working parents. HB277 – Childcare Eligibility Amendments restructured the childcare co-pay program administered through the Office of Childcare, and allowed families who made up to 85% of the state median income to be eligible for childcare assistance on a sliding scale. The sliding scale allows working class families to find some reprieve in childcare costs, and to gradually taper off of the program as their financial situation changes or until their child graduates off of the program.
The other important portion of this bill stabilizes the very important childcare sector by requiring state pay families to be treated the same as private pay families, in that providers are paid according to enrollment and not attendance. This will help to keep our childcare facilities open to serve families.
During the 2022 General Session, we ran HB 375 – Office of Childcare Amendments which creates a tool that will capture more comprehensive data similar to the tool used by the Federal and other state governments. The data in this tool is meant to help state policymakers, child care providers, and other stakeholders understand the needs associated with delivering childcare by collecting data on everything from child to staff ratios, salaries of providers, enrollment efficiency, both sunk and hidden costs, and more. The national Office of Child Care, under the Administration for Children and Families, recommends this approach as a more comprehensive alternative to a basic market rate study. This will help us to continue to work in the childcare sector and serve both families and providers in the most thoughtful and thorough way possible.
I also co-sponsored HB193 – Full Day Kindergarten, by Rep. Waldrip which will provide optional full day Kindergarten to DIstricts, Schools, and students.
Supporting children and our working parents will always be a priority of mine, and I am dedicated to continue working in this area to provide safe and healthy spaces for our children, and breathing room for our parents.