The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the primary federal grant program that provides child care assistance to families, as well as funding to support quality initiatives for child care settings. CCDBG is administered to states and the states then use these grants to subsidize, in-part, agencies like Square One which provide child care for low-income working families. Most of this assistance is administered through vouchers which can be used by parents for the provider or program of their choice.
After 18 years, the Child Care and Development Block Grant was finally reauthorized and revised by Congress to include general provisions to improve the quality of child care nationwide. Just last week, President Obama signed the reauthorization and it is now law.
The newly re-authorized CCDBG significantly improves child care safety, quality and access. It enhances a child’s opportunity to enter school ready to excel in learning which serves as the foundation for educational success. It also includes new language that directly addresses affordability, continuity of care, and cost stabilization that benefits both families and providers.
This historic reauthorization sends a clear message that the early education of our most vulnerable children should be—and is—a national priority. Helping Square One to help these needy children is an investment that pays returns right away and continues paying dividends as the children we serve grow toward adulthood.
Art Rolnick from the Federal Reserve and Nobel Laureate, James J. Heckman, agree that investing in high quality early education and care is economic development. Research shows that for every dollar invested in early education there is a 16% - 17% return, the savings are reflected in a reduction in the criminal justice system, the mental health system, special education, welfare and teen pregnancy costs. Furthermore, children who receive a high quality early education are 40% more likely to graduate from high school and go onto college or a job and less likely to get involved in antisocial activities which is costly to society. Investing in children now means not having to pay more later.
For more than a century, Square One has been providing a quality early education and care experience to our community’s most vulnerable children and families. Today, we are a strong, multi-service organization addressing the educational, social and emotional needs of children, as well as the adults entrusted with their health and wellbeing.
The committed staff at Square One applauds passage of the CCDBG law knowing what we do in our early education and care programs is vital for our neediest children and for our entire community as we help develop well-nourished, well-educated healthy children and families. It is through CCDBG funding from our good partner, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, and the financial support of so many caring businesses and individuals who share our mission that makes our work possible. For your continuing support, we thank you.
President and CEO, Square One