A law that mandates safety measures for early childhood education centers including background checks for caregivers, annual inspections, CPR training requirements, safe sleep practices, and more has been reauthorized by the U.S. Senate as the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 (CCDBG). The legislation, which will coordinate federal and state funding for early childhood education programs, was supported by Senators from both major political parties.
"Early childhood education is essential to a child's future," U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-Co.) told the Colorado Springs Gazette, "Early learning programs are proven to increase kindergarten readiness and to provide students with the early skills they need to succeed later in school and in life. "
North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr voiced his pleasure that the bill ensures that early childhood education funds, which help an estimated 1.5 million low-income children have access to early education, wind up at programs that meet consistent and high standards for safety and efficacy.
"CCDBG is a welfare reform success story that encourages personal responsibility," Burr said in The Ripon Advance. "The transparency we incorporate in this law will go a long way toward making parents well-informed consumers of childcare and improve the safety of the programs. It is of particular importance to me that federal dollars will no longer go to childcare providers who have been convicted of violent crimes. CCDBG also places an emphasis on improving the quality of our childcare facilities over the next several years. This is not another Washington entitlement but an investment in the self-sufficiency of some of our hardest working families."
Access to early education programs is on the rise across the country, even in states that had previously objected to the idea that every child should have a preschool education.
Image: Colored pencils, via Shutterstock