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Increased Access to Child Care, First Step Toward Success for Students With Learning and Attention Issues

Written by Meghan Casey, Policy, Research, & Advocacy Associate | February 10, 2016

It’s no secret that the early years in a child’s life are the most formative. It is during the early years of life that children build the foundation for learning, their brains develop rapidly, and they learn an immense amount about the world around them. High quality child care is the first step toward success, especially for children with or at-risk of having learning or attention issues.

A great number of students with disabilities are not yet identified when they enter early childhood programs. These programs and professionals must have the tools and information they need to identify children who may be exhibiting the early signs of learning disabilities and attention issues. Early recognition of learning challenges combined with timely, effective evidence-based services are critical to supporting success in later years. Thus, child care and early childhood programs must not only be high-quality, but they must also be accessible to all families, no matter their income.

But for far too many families across the country, quality child care is unaffordable. In fact, according to the Economic Policy Institute, child care is more expensive than public college tuition in most states! Leaders in the House and Senate are taking steps to change that.

A new proposal has been released: the Child Care Access to Resources for Early-learning (CARE) Act. The bill has been sponsored by Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) in the Senate and by Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) in the House. The proposal aims to ensure that families in poverty with children under age four have access to high quality child care.

The Child CARE Act would allocate $25 billion over five years to the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which is a program that provides a subsidy for state-operated child care programs. The funds will be allocated based on the rate of the State’s population of children under four.  States would be required to set new quality improvement goals and also match a portion of the federal funds they receive.

The act was introduced by Senator Casey today. Let your members of Congress know that you support increased access to quality child care by using #InvestInKids on social media.

If passed, this legislation could mean that 1 million more children will have access to high quality child care in the next 10 years. You can be a part of that change.

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