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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 7, 1998


January 7, 1998

President Clinton today announced an historic initiative to improve child care for America's working families. The President's FY 1999 budget will include approximately $20 billion over five years for child care, the largest single investment in child care in the nation's history. President Clinton's initiative responds to the struggles our nation's working parents face in finding child care that they can afford, trust, and rely on. The President's proposal will help working families pay for child care, build the supply of good after-school programs, improve the safety and quality of care, and promote early learning.


Doubles the number of children receiving child care subsidies to more than two million by the year 2003, by increasing funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant by $7.5 billion over 5 years.

Increases tax credits for three million working families to help them pay for child care by investing $5.2 billion over 5 years in the Child and Dependent Tax Credit. The President's proposal also provides a new tax credit for businesses that offer child care services for their employees.

Provides after-school care for up to half a million children per year by expanding the 21st Century Community Learning Center program by $800 million over 5 years to provide funds to school-community partnerships to establish or expand programs for school-age children.

Improves child care safety and quality and enhances early childhood development by establishing a new Early Learning Fund as well as supporting enforcement of state child care health and safety standards, providing scholarships to up to 50,000 child care providers per year, and investing in research and consumer education.

See attached fact sheets for details on the President's Initiative.

Child Care Block Grant Increase $7.5 billion over five years Child and Dependent Tax Credit Reform $5.2 billion over five years

  Tax Credit for Businesses               $500 million over five years
  After-School Program                    $800 million over five years
  Early Learning Fund                     $3 billion over five years
  Head Start Increase                     $3.8 billion over five years
  Standards Enforcement Fund              $500 million over five years
  Child Care Provider Scholarship Fund    $250 million over five years
  Research and Evaluation Fund            $150 million over five years

     TOTAL: $21.7 billion over five years

Makes Child Care More Affordable for Working Families

Doubles the Number of Children Receiving Child Care Subsidies to More than Two Million. The President proposes to expand the Child Care and Development Block Grant to help working families struggling to meet the costs of child care. This block grant is the primary federal subsidy program to pay for child care, enabling low-income parents to work. Funds are distributed by formula to the states to operate direct child care subsidy programs, as well as to improve the quality and availability of care. The President's initiative will more than double the number of children served, from the one million served in FY 95 (the latest year for which data are available)to more than two million. The President's budget will increase funding for the block grant by $7.5 billion (with a match) over five years, which will enable states to provide subsidies for more than two million children by 2003.

Increases Tax Credits for Child Care for Three Million Working Families. The Child and Dependent Tax Credit provides tax relief to taxpayers who pay for the care of a child under 13 or a disabled dependent or spouse in order to work. The credit is equal to a percentage of the taxpayer's employment-related expenditures for child or dependent care, with the amount of the credit depending on the taxpayer's income. The President's proposal increases the credit for families earning under $60,000. It provides an additional average tax cut of $358 for these families, and it eliminates income tax liability for almost all families with incomes below 200% of poverty ($35,000 for a family of four) that take the maximum allowable child care expenses under the law. The President's budget will include $5.2 billion over five years to expand the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for three million working families.

Provides New Business Tax Credits. The child care initiative includes a tax credit to businesses that provide child care services for their employees, by building or expanding child care facilities, operating existing facilities, training child care workers, reserving slots for employees at child care facilities, or providing child care resource and referral services to employees. The credit covers 25% of qualified costs, but may not exceed $150,000 per year. The President's budget will include approximately $500 million over five years for these tax credits.

Promotes Early Learning and Healthy Child Development

Promotes Early Learning. Research shows that children's experiences in the earliest years are critical to their development and future success. The President's proposed Early Learning Fund provides challenge grants to communities (distributed by states) to support programs to improve early learning and the quality and safety of child care for children ages zero to five. Funds may be used for the following activities: providing basic training to child care providers (including first aid and CPR); connecting individual child care providers to centers for education and support; assisting child care providers to meet accreditation and licensing requirements; linking child care providers with health professionals; reducing group sizes and child-to-staff ratios; and providing home visits, parent education, and consumer education about child care. The President's Early Learning Fund builds on state initiatives such as North Carolina's Smart Start, which helps North Carolina's children enter school healthy and ready to succeed. Smart Start funds a broad variety of local efforts, including improving staff-to-child ratios, medical visits that have raised immunization rates, and parent education and mentoring programs to give new parents support. The President's budget will include $3 billion over five years for this fund.

Increases Investment in Head Start and Doubles the Number of Children Served by Early Head Start. Head Start provides early, continuous and comprehensive child development and family support services, preparing children for a lifetime of learning and development. The President is committed to reauthorize Head Start and reach one million children by 2002. The President's budget will invest $3.8 billion over five years to keep on track his commitment to serving one million children by 2002, and to double the number of infants and toddlers in Early Head Start to 80,000.

Improves the Quality of Child Care

Steps Up Enforcement of State Health and Safety Standards. Building on the military's model child care program, this proposed initiative will fund state efforts to improve licensing systems and enforce child care health and safety standards, including by increasing unannounced inspections of child care settings. The President's budget will include $500 million over five years for this program.

Facilitates Background Checks on Child Care Providers. On the day of the White House Conference on Child Care, the President transmitted to Congress the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact, which will facilitate effective background checks on child care providers by eliminating state law barriers to sharing criminal history information for non-criminal purposes. Although the vast majority of child care providers are dedicated to the teaching and nurturing of children, one tragedy in child care is too many. Background checks are an important way to ensure that the people watching our children are fit for this responsibility.

Increases Scholarships and Training for Child Care Providers. At the White House Conference on Child Care, the President proposed establishing a Child Care Provider Scholarship Fund to enable states to provide scholarship funds to students working toward a child care credential. Eligible child care workers must commit to remaining in the field for at least one year for each year of assistance received and will earn increased compensation or bonuses when they complete their course work. The President proposed a federal investment of $250 million over five years, which will support 50,000 scholarships per year. The President is also proposing to expand the Department of Labor's Child Care Apprenticeship Program to fund the training of child care providers.

Invests in Research. Because too little is known about our child care system, the President's budget will increase support for data, research, and evaluation. This research fund will also support a National Center on Child Care Statistics and a child care hotline that parents can call to get information about how to find child care in their communities and how to identify appropriate, quality care for their children. In addition, the research fund will support demonstration projects to test approaches to help new parents who choose to stay home to care for their newborns or newly adopted children. The President's budget will include $150 million over five years for this fund.

Expands and Streamlines After-School Care

An estimated five million school-age children spend time as latchkey kids without adult supervision during a typical week. Research indicates that during these unsupervised hours children are more likely to engage in at-risk behavior, such as crime, drugs, and alcohol use. To meet this pressing demand, the President is proposing a dramatic expansion of after-school care.

Provides After-School Care for up to Half a Million Children a Year. The President proposes a dramatic expansion of the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program to provide start-up funds (with a local match) to school-community partnerships to establish or expand before- and after-school programs for school-age children. The program increases the supply of after-school care in a cost-effective manner primarily by funding programs that use public schools and their existing resources, such as computers, gymnasiums, and sports equipment. The program also includes a set aside to fund programs run by community organizations. The President's budget will request $800 million of entirely new money for this program, for a total of $1 billion over five years.

Improves Coordination of Federal After-School Initiatives to Help Communities Make Best Use of Existing Resources. The President will put in place a collaborative effort involving numerous federal agencies to eliminate duplication and better coordinate federal funding for after-school programs in three to five pilot cities, including the District of Columbia.