Hinson Bill to Expand Iowa Families’ Eligibility for Child Care Assistance

    • 7More Iowa families would be eligible to receive financial support for child care services under congressional legislation recently presented by Iowa Republican U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson.

Eastern Iowa child care activists, however, caution that even if the measure passes, families may still struggle to obtain open child care slots owing to low reimbursement rates and subpar compensation for child care providers in the state.

The House Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee’s ranking Republican, Burgess Owens of Utah, and Hinson introduced legislation to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act.

The federal program, which is managed by states, territories and tribes, offers financial support on behalf of low-income, working families so they can afford child care services. Annual appropriations bills have continued to support the program even though its last reauthorization, in 2014, was set to expire in fiscal 2020.

Assist Iowa Families

According to the most recent information on families that received grants in fiscal 2020, 9,000 Iowa households and around 16,400 children were aided monthly.

The program will be expanded to assist more families, according to Hinson, and will have greater flexibility so that families may select the caregiver who best suits their requirements. 

The Marion Republican said access to inexpensive daycare, particularly for families in rural towns, is a critical concern. Especially, she noted, as inflation continues to make living expensive for families more concerned about childcare bills.

Bill To Support Networks of Family

The measure would:

-By increasing the state median income threshold to 150 percent, more families will be eligible for aid.

-Providing help and support to networks of home and family childcare providers, including religious providers, to address supply shortages.

-Grant provides flexibility and options to support childcare educators through professional development opportunities and recruitment and retention efforts.

-Make that the operational and input expenses of the providers are taken into account when determining the reimbursement rates.

In Iowa, a family of four typically earns $97,935, which is equivalent to $146,902 times 150. In addition, the law includes provisions to guarantee families in greater need, who earn less than 85 percent of income levels, are cared for first.