WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) praised Senate passage of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). He offered the following remarks to congratulate his fellow Maryland Senator Barbara Mikulski, S. 1086’s lead sponsor, on the passage of this bipartisan legislation:
“I’m proud that we were able to come together to reauthorize a successful program that will increase the safety of our children and make significant improvements to our current child care programs. Senator Mikulski’s legislation will better support and provide added stability for working families.
“The last time we authorized this program was in 1996. I was serving in the House of Representatives at the time and was the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee. We were considering welfare reform and childcare, and how we could reward families for work. At the time, we sought ways to ensure that our welfare system was a transitional program rather than permanent and that it would allow people, particularly moms, to get into the workforce, stay in the workforce and climb up the economic ladder.
“Effective childcare makes a real difference in the lives of children and families. Today, under CCDBG, there are 1.6 million children eligible for program services. CCDBG provides not only a safe environment for those children, but allows 70 percent of their parents to work and an educational opportunity for the child at the same time. A Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) study showed that parents who had their children in childcare for two years or more were more likely to remain employed. CCDBG provides stable employment, help for the child, and a positive economic situation for the family.
“This bicameral, bipartisan CCDBG is a model of how federalism should operate, with the federal government and the states collaborating together to set standards that improve the quality of life for many middle-class American families. CCDBG allows the States to develop 13 specific health and safety standards, such as first aid and CPR, and SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome. It will keep our children safer with increased standards and expanded safety checks for personnel, steadily increases authorizations, keeps parents better informed and provides more flexibility to states to set priorities.”