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Harris announces steps to cap, waive child care costs for thousands

Vice President Harris Tuesday announced new steps that would cap child care copayments for families enrolled in a federal program at no more than 7 percent of a family’s income and encourage states to waive copayments for families at the poverty level.

Harris’s announcement aims to strengthen the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which supports 1.5 million children and their families monthly, by incentivizing participation in the program. 

The White House predicts that capping copayments at 7 percent of a family’s income would mean nearly 80,000 families would see their child care payments reduced. The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) in 2016 established 7 percent of family income as the federal benchmark of an affordable child care copayment, but only 14 states have set copayment rates for families participating in CCDBG at or below that level.

Through the new actions, states would be encouraged to waive copayments if a family is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The White House predicts copayments would be eliminated entirely for some families and that a family of three would save over $250 a month in Ohio, nearly $300 a month in North Carolina and over $350 in New Hampshire.

Also, states would be encouraged to accept online applications for CCDBG enrollment and to make siblings of children who already receive the subsidy eligible for benefits.

Additionally, the new actions aim to stabilize operations for providers who participate in CCDBG by ensuring nearly 200,000 providers are paid on time rather than retrospectively.

The new actions are part of an HHS notice of proposed rulemaking. They build on an executive order that Biden signed in April directing HHS to consider advancing policies that reduce child care costs for families and improve provider payment policies to strengthen the child care market.

The White House says the steps are part of the so-called Bidenomics agenda, which it contrasts with trickle-down economics favored by many on the right.

Source: The Hill

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