Washington, D.C.—Senator Joe Donnelly Thursday welcomed the bipartisan Senate passage of S. 1086, the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014.  This bill, which passed by a vote of 97 to 1, would reauthorize a law designed to help working American families afford child care that has not been reauthorized since 1996.  The Indianapolis Star reported on Sunday that there have been 31 deaths at Indiana day cares since 2009, including three children who have died at Indiana day cares so far this year.

Donnelly said, “This program allows Hoosier parents in need to go to work, get an education, or otherwise train for a job. Their children deserve the highest quality child care services, no matter their income level. More than 34,200 low-income and at-risk Hoosier children are served each month through child care development funds.  The reforms in the bipartisan reauthorization passed today would improve program quality, safeguard the health and safety of children, and meet the needs of children with disabilities, among other improvements.  I call on my colleagues in the House to support this bill so we can better serve children across Indiana in need.”

Ann Murtlow, President & CEO of United Way of Central Indiana, said, “United Way applauds the Senate’s passage of this important bill which will significantly increase the quality of child care in Indiana. We urge the House of Representatives to take up this important issue which puts children and their opportunities for success at the forefront.”

Families must meet certain requirements to be eligible for CCDBG assistance.  The monthly income eligibility threshold in Indiana is $2,020, or 127% of the poverty level.  Further, children must be younger than 13 years old and live with parents who are working, enrolled in school or training, or be in need of protective services. Indiana receives nearly $63 million in mandatory funds and more than $51 million in discretionary funds under this program.

The CCBDG Program was first signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1990 to assist working families with the cost of providing child care. CCDBG is administered to states in formula block grants, and states use the funding to help low-income families gain access to quality, affordable child care and afterschool programs while parents work, train for work, or attend school. Assistance is administered through vouchers or certificates, which can be used by parents for the provider or program of their choice – whether in a family child care home, with a relative or friend, or in a child care center.