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III. New Community -
Child Care and Head Start
"The hardest and the most important part of welfare reform is moving people from welfare to work.
You have to educate and train people. You've got to make sure that their kids aren't punished once they go
to work by losing their health care or their child care. "
-- President Clinton National Association of Counties, March 7, 1995
Quality child care is critical to the millions of working families struggling to make ends meet.
The Administration has been committed to expanding child care assistance through Head Start and
other successful child care programs - and to improving the quality of child care.
The need for assistance with child care is large and growing. Proposals to block grant and cap
child care assistance threaten to eliminate the child care which enables poor families to work.
Almost one million children of working poor families receive assistance through the At-Risk and Child Care
and Development Block Grant Programs. If child care funds are capped, these hard working American families
could be cut off and put at-risk for welfare dependency.
Low-income families who pay for child care spend more than a quarter of their income on these
expenses, and millions more are in need of child care assistance. In California, 225,000 children are on a
waiting list for child care.
More than 400,000 children each month receive child care assistance through AFDC and
Transitional Child Care programs. Assistance for these children and their families is in jeopardy
if child care funds are capped. Studies indicate that when child care arrangements break down, parents are
more likely to drop out of school or leave work and go back on welfare.
The quality of child care is far from adequate. Poor quality care threatens children's development. The
recent study conducted by economists and child development experts confirms that quality care is related
to child outcomes. The vast majority of care in the country was found to be mediocre, with 40% of
infant care considered poor.
Increased Funding for Child Care. Every budget submitted by President Clinton has included
increases in child care. The A:FY96 budget increases funding $100 million.
A Central Element of Welfare Reform.The Work and Responsibility Act
introduced last year continued the guarantee for families moving toward self sufficiency and expanded child care
assistance for working families - part of the effort to make work pay. The President's plan included a
$1.5 billion increase in child care funding over five years for working poor families at-risk of
Improving Coordination. The Administration has worked to make programs more consistent
and coordinated, proposing new regulations to reduce red tape, improve quality, give states more
flexibility, and streamline child care operations into a single Child Care Bureau.
Technical Assistance. The Clinton Administration revamped and strengthened technical assistance
to the states, territories and tribes to ensure they have access to the best available information
on quality issues, particularly health and safety. In addition, the Administration has launched
a National Child Care Information Center for policy makers and the general public.
Head Start. President Clinton's FY96 budget proposes an additional $400 million increase for
this program which provides comprehensive services for disadvantaged children, ages three to five,
and their families. With bipartisan support, the President appointed the Head Start Advisory
Commission to examine and recommend improvements to the program after 25 years of service.
Under Republican proposals, more than $2 billion dollars in child care assistance would be cut
over five years and more than 300,000 children would lose assistance in the year 2000.