This week the House advanced two bills out of committee to increase child care provider rates and introduced legislation to address the “cliff effect” in the child care assistance program. These are just three of the priority bills that House Republicans have introduced this session to address access and affordability of child care.
House File 2067 unanimously passed the Human Resources Committee to increase child care provider rates in the Child Care Assistance Program below the 50th percentile of the 2017 Market Rate Survey up to the 50th percentile, and also increases rates to child care providers under the quality rating system bonuses to reflect the increased rates as appropriate. This amounts to a $7.2 million increase to child care providers accepting CCA. This legislation is important because between FY2018 and FY2019, there was a reduction of 18 child care centers, 140 child development homes, and 99 unregistered homes accepting CCA in the state.
House File 2128 also passed the Human Resources Committee with bipartisan votes to expand the definition of “infant and toddler” to include children age two weeks to three years. Currently the “infant and toddler” pay class only goes up to the age of two years. The Governor recommended this change in definition to increase rates to providers by $2.3 million.
Lastly, House File 2203 was introduced this week and assigned a subcommittee to address the “cliff effect” in the child care assistance program. Currently, Iowans are limited in their ability to be successful. Parents receiving Child Care Assistance are actually discouraged to increase take home pay and encouraged to remain on welfare. The state places a significant child care financial barrier in their way. House Republicans are committed to help Iowans stuck in welfare dependency by allowing them to accept raises or promotions at work due instead being pushed over the welfare cliff. The House Republican proposal extends the financial eligibility to those families receiving Child Care Assistance with a staggered increase in payment from the family to begin preparing them to pay for child care costs.
In the District
As always, please join me at one of my legislative forums in February:
Feb. 7 @ 8 a.m. – Corydon – Farm Bureau
Feb. 7 @ 10 a.m. – Chariton – Mosaic
Feb. 7 @ Noon – Osceola – Lakeside Casino
Feb. 7 @ 2 p.m. – Leon – Community Center