July 31, 2002
The Honorable Edward Kennedy
The Honorable Judd Gregg
Dear Chairman Kennedy and Senator Gregg:
On behalf of the nation's Governors, we are writing to raise concerns with the bill before your committee to reauthorize the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG), S. 2758. As you know, child care assistance is a critical component of the economic stability of many low-income families. While we appreciate your commitment to increased funding for child care, we are concerned that provisions of this bill, if enacted, could have the unintended consequence of limiting families' access to child care benefits.
In its current form, S. 2758 would impose numerous new mandates on state child care programs and increase funding set-asides. These limitations would restrict states' ability to effectively allocate critical resources where they are most needed in each individual state. In addition, these provisions would result in less funding provided for actual child care subsidies, likely leading to a loss of assistance for some families and an increased likelihood of waiting lists for assistance in some states. This would come at a time when Congress is considering changes in welfare reform requirements that would require additional child care funds and while states are facing serious budget shortfalls.
Governors believe that funding for child care should continue to be a priority for the federal government, and we appreciate that pending child care and welfare reform reauthorization proposals recognize this need. We urge the committee, however, to resist the temptation to earmark child care funds and to impose new program mandates so that states will have maximum flexibility in expanding access to child care for low-income families. We look forward to working with you toward this goal.
Governor Frank O'Bannon
Governor Dirk Kempthorne
cc: Members, Senate HELP Committee