Great News for Maryland’s Families!

Sharing some great news with this article from Maryland Family Network!

Maryland Family Network Public Policy Alert

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Big Day for Little Kids:
Landmark Legislation Will Help Parents Earn, Children Learn

Maryland House of Delegates in session
On Monday afternoon, the House of Delegates prepares to vote on a landmark bill raising Child Care Subsidy rates. Sponsor Del. Adrienne Jones (lower right corner, in pink) leads the way. A vote on the Senate version, led by Sen. Nancy King, followed on Monday night.

The Maryland General Assembly has enacted the most significant victory for early care and education in more than a decade. After years of neglect, and with Maryland under increasing scrutiny from the federal government, “Education – Child Care Subsidies – Mandatory Funding Levels” (SB 379 / HB 430) will dramatically raise the State’s abysmally low child care subsidy rates. Low‐income working parents across Maryland will gain significant help in finding and paying for safe, quality child care. The legislation was spearheaded by Sen. Nancy King (Montgomery Co.) and Del. Adrienne Jones (Baltimore Co.), with critical support from Committee Chairs Sen. Ed Kasemeyer (Baltimore and Howard Cos.) and Del. Maggie McIntosh (Baltimore City).

Working families participating in the program (whose income eligibility is capped at $29,990 for a family of three) have been forced to choose among the cheapest 10% of child care options in their communities. Thanks to the subsidy rate increases required by this legislation, these families will soon gain access to up to 60% of child care programs near where they live or work. The rates will rise gradually in 2019, 2020, and 2021 to reach that level. While Maryland’s Child Care Subsidy Program has ranked at or very near the bottom of all 50 states, this landmark legislation will bring Maryland closer to achieving the “equal access” to care for families required by federal law.The last time child care subsidy rates were significantly increased in Maryland was in 2007.

Advocates in Annapolis have worked tirelessly on this issue so that children can receive higher quality care while their parents pursue their own employment and education goals. The legislation also provides an incentive for more child care providers (mostly small business owners) to serve subsidy-eligible families, and it gives a particular boost to those programs providing care in Maryland’s lowest-income communities. Bill sponsors Sen. King and Del. Jones have once again proven to be courageous and committed champions for children by achieving this milestone.

Advocates also commend Governor Larry Hogan for eliminating the Child Care Subsidy Program wait list, effective February 1, 2018, and for his promise to give a modest subsidy rate increase beginning in July, 2018. These actions have buoyed hopes that the legislation just enacted will win the Governor’s support as well.

 


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