Senators Udall, Heinrich Vote to Expand Access to Quality Child Care for New Mexico Working Families

U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined the Senate in voting 97-1 to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program. The program, which had not been updated in nearly 20 years, helps New Mexico families obtain safe, reliable and affordable child care while they work, or pursue an education or career training. The bipartisan reauthorization modifies the program based on current research on child development to better align child care health and safety standards with up-to-date knowledge about child well-being.

“Child care is essential for many working families and vital for parents who want to go back to school to get training that will help them qualify for a better-paying job. Every family should be able to afford quality, dependable child care if they need it,” Udall said. “Today’s bipartisan vote to update the Child Care and Development Block Grant program improves the health and safety of child care in New Mexico and across the country. The changes we approved today will ensure child care workers have better training, and undergo background checks and get certifications in First Aid and CPR. And it will give parents the confidence that their children are getting good care in a safe, supportive learning environment.”

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) also voted in support of S. 1086, the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, a bipartisan reauthorization bill to help expand access to and improve the quality of child care for children and families. The bill passed the Senate today by a vote of 97 to 1.

“By helping parents, we are helping children. Expanding access to quality, affordable child care is not only a critical component to the economic stability of working parents, but also contributes enormously to improving the long-term education and well-being of New Mexico children.” said Sen. Heinrich. “This bipartisan proposal would strengthen investments in child development and ensure children and their families have access to the quality programs they need to succeed.”

First passed in 1990, the Child Care and Development Block Grant serves as the primary source of federal funding for child care assistance and helps provides child care services for low-income family members who work, train for work, or attend school. In New Mexico, the grant serves 19,800 children monthly and has provided $39,774,805 in total funds for child care and development.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 would specifically:

  • Reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990 through FY2019;
  • Improve program quality by requiring states to phase in higher levels of quality set aside funding to 10% by 2018;
  • Strengthen coordination with Early Learning Advisory Councils who develop high-quality, comprehensive systems of early childhood education and care;
  • Expand eligibility by taking into account the needs of families, including a parent’s irregular work schedule and giving parents ample opportunity to prove eligibility;
  • Ensure children are in safe environments that support their physical emotional and cognitive development by providing health and safety training for childcare providers; and
  • Provide support of low-income and at-risk children and families by prioritizing quality care for children from low-income families in areas of concentrated poverty or unemployment.