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Child care, early education, and school-age care are a necessity for our nation’s families. Millions of children are cared for by someone other than their parents every day; in all but three states, more than 60 percent of preschool and school-age children have one or more parents in the labor force. However, fewer than 10 percent of all child care centers and fewer than one percent of all family child care homes are accredited. Even where accredited child care exists, the annual cost of child care for a 4-year-old is more than the annual in-state tuition at a public four-year college in 36 states and the District of Columbia.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to assist working families with the cost of providing child care. The CCDBG is the primary source of federal funding for child care assistance. States use the resources provided by the CCDBG to help low-income families gain access to quality, affordable child care and after-school programs. The CCDBG provides funding to help parents pay for the care of their choice, whether in a family child care home, with a relative or a friend, or in a child care center.
Child care is an integral part of everyday life for America’s families, as parents rely on child care to ensure the safety and well-being of their children while they work and to help their children succeed in school. The Children’s Defense Fund supports programs like the Child Care and Development Block Grant which help to ensure that all families have access to affordable, quality child care.