Because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, most states are keeping public child care programs afloat near last year's levels. But a handful of states are not providing the same level of assistance to poor families even with the federal help.
Those are a few of the messages in the 2009 report on states' child care policies, released yesterday by the National Women's Law Center. The center surveyed representatives of all 50 states this summer about how they would use funds from the stimulus bill, known as ARRA, which provided an additional $2 billion in funding for 2010 and 2011 through Child Care and Development Block Grants. Thirty states reported that they were using that money to maintain services, avoid or lessen waiting lists and open their services to more parents in search of work. But several others, including Arizona, Maryland, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania, said they will be cutting funding and tightening eligibility requirements for childcare subsidies.
The center also asked states where they stood in February 2009 (exactly a year from the date of last year's survey) on a range of policies, such as how they determine income cut-offs for assistance, the size of the co-payments they require families to make, and how they reimburse child care center and other providers who enroll qualifying children. Updates on state's waiting lists are also included.