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HHS/ACF RIN: 0970-AC53 Publication ID: Fall 2013 
Title: Child Care and Development Fund Reforms to Support Child Development and Working Families 
Abstract: This rule would provide the first comprehensive update of Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) regulations since 1998. It would make changes in four key areas: (1) Improving health and safety; (2) improving the quality of child care; (3) establishing family-friendly policies; and (4) strengthening program integrity. The rule seeks to retain much of the flexibility afforded to States, territories, and tribes consistent with the nature of a block grant. 
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services(HHS)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 45 CFR 98   
Legal Authority: sec 658E and other provisions of the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, as amended   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: The CCDF program has far-reaching implications for America's poorest children. It provides child care assistance to 1.6 million children from nearly 1 million low-income working families and families who are attending school or job training. Half of the children served are living at or below poverty level. In addition, children who receive CCDF are cared for alongside children who do not receive CCDF, by approximately 570,000 participating child care providers, some of whom lack basic assurances needed to ensure children are safe, healthy, and learning. Since 1996, a body of research has demonstrated the importance of the early years on brain development and has shown that high- quality, consistent child care can positively impact later success in school and life. This is especially true for low-income children who face a school readiness and achievement gap and can benefit the most from high-quality early learning environments. In light of this research, many States, territories, and tribes, working collaboratively with the Federal Government, have taken important steps over the last 15 years to make the CCDF program more child-focused and family-friendly; however, implementation of these evidence-informed practices is uneven across the country and critical gaps remain. This regulatory action is needed in order to increase accountability in the CCDF program by ensuring that all children receiving federally funded child care assistance are in safe, quality programs that both support their parent's labor market participation, and help children develop the tools and skills they need to reach their full potential. A major focus of this final rule is to raise the bar on quality by establishing a floor of health and safety standards for child care paid for with Federal funds. National surveys have demonstrated that most parents logically assume that their child care providers have had a background check, have had training in child health and safety, and are regularly monitored. However, State policies surrounding the training and oversight of child care providers vary widely. In some States, many children receiving CCDF subsidies are cared for by providers that have little to no oversight with respect to compliance with basic standards designed to safeguard children's well-being, such as first-aid and safe sleep practices. This can leave children in unsafe conditions, even as their care is being funded with public dollars. In addition, the final rule empowers all parents who choose child care, regardless of whether they receive a Federal subsidy, with better information to make the best choices for their children. This includes providing parents with information about the quality of child care providers and making information about providers' compliance with health and safety regulations more transparent so that parents can be aware of the safety track record of providers when it's time to choose child care.

Summary of the Legal Basis: This final regulation is being issued under the authority granted to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the CCDBG Act (42 U.S.C. 9858 et seq.) and section 418 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 618).

Alternatives: The Administration for Children and Families considered a range of approaches to improve early childhood care and education, including administrative and regulatory action. ACF has taken administrative actions to recommend that States adopt stronger health and safety requirements and provided technical assistance to States. Despite these efforts to assist States in making voluntary reforms, unacceptable health and safety lapses remain. An alternative to this rule would be to take no regulatory action or to limit the nature of the required standards and the degree to which those standards are prescriptive. ACF believes this rulemaking is the preferable alternative to ensure children's health and safety and promote their learning and development.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: Changes in this final rule directly benefit children and parents who use CCDF assistance to pay for child care. The 1.6 million children who are in child care funded by CCDF would have stronger protections for their health and safety, which addresses every parent's paramount concern. All children in the care of a participating CCDF provider will be safer because that provider is more knowledgeable about health and safety issues. In addition, the families of the 12 million children who are served in child care will benefit from having clear, accessible information about the safety compliance records and quality indicators of providers available to them as they make critical choices about where their children will be cared for while they work. Provisions also will benefit child care providers by encouraging States to invest in high quality child care providers and professional development and to take into account quality when they determine child care payment rates. A primary reason for revising the CCDF regulations is to better reflect current State and local practices to improve the quality of child care. Therefore, there are a significant number of States, territories, and tribes that have already implemented many of these policies. The cost of implementing the changes in this final rule will vary depending on a State's specific situation. ACF does not believe the costs of this final regulatory action would be economically significant and that the tremendous benefits to low-income children justify costs associated with this final rule.

Risks: Not applicable.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  05/20/2013  78 FR 29422   
NPRM Comment Period End  08/05/2013 
Final Action  06/00/2014 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: No  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Andrew Williams
Policy Division Director
Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Child Care, 330 C Street SW.,
Washington, DC 20201
Phone:202 401-4795
Fax:202 690-5600

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