Quality child care is an essential component of any meaningful effort to address homelessness. Without child care, parents – including youth and young adult parents – struggle to pursue the education that is necessary for livable wage employment and to find and keep the employment they need to maintain housing. And without high-quality child care, children’s health and development are compromised, putting children at risk of lifelong challenges. Yet children experiencing homelessness participate in child care at much lower rates than other children, due to the many barriers homelessness creates.

Congress recognized the barriers to child care created by homelessness, as well as the developmental harms of homelessness, when it amended the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) of 2014. The legislation and regulations now include specific provisions on homelessness, including requiring states to prioritize homeless families for child care.

More recently, Congress increased FY2018 child care funding by $2.37 billion – the largest increase ever in child care funding.

Opportunity for action: States must submit their Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan for 2019-2021 by June 30, 2018.  Each Lead Agency posts their draft State Plan for review and must solicit and consider input on the draft.

We urge families, educators, homeless service providers, advocates, and others to ask states to include in their State Plan specific measures to implement the homelessness requirements. We’ve created a sample letter which can be edited to reflect particular priorities and state information.

The timeline and opportunity to weigh in on the State Plan varies from state to state. Please see your state’s CCDF website to learn more about how to provide feedback in your state.

Upcoming webinar: What have states learned since the 2014 CCDBG reauthorization, and how should these lessons inform states’ CCDF State Plans for 2019-2021, due June 30, 2018? On May 2, we’ll feature presenters from the states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and South Carolina to share their strategies, as well as new research from Child Trends on state implementation of the homelessness child care requirements.

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