The Choices in Child Care Act would establish demonstration projects in 5 to 7 states to allow eligible low-income parents to receive a subsidy to care for their infants in their own homes in lieu of a child care subsidy.
· Family income must not exceed the income limits specified in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).
· Families must have a child under the age of 12 months to be eligible, unless the State chooses to extend eligibility to families with children under 24 months.
· Participating families must include a parent with a recent work history.
· States may establish other eligibility requirements for participation.
· States may select, but not limit to project to, the participation of two-parent families.
· A new appropriation of $75 million per year to CCDBG for projects.
· Participating families will receive a subsidy equal to or less than 100% of the State’s maximum rate for a licensed family child care provider for full-time infant care.
· Subsidies provided to families are not considered assistance under TANF, and are not considered income for purposes of any Federal or federally-assisted program that bases eligibility on financial need.
Program and Administration
· The Secretary of Health and Human Services will award grants to between 5 and 7 States and Indian tribes (does not reduce grants awarded to States) to establish demonstration projects.
· States will not reduce the child care services that they provide after receiving the grant, and will not prioritize eligible low-income families who want to participate in the at-home infant care program over the other eligible low-income families on waiting lists for child care subsidies.
· States will provide parents with information on the range of child care options available to them, ensure that applicants are permitted to choose between at-home subsidies and child care subsidies, and ensure that applicants can trade their at-home subsidies for child care subsidies at any point during their participation in the demonstration project.
· States will develop a plan to improve the quality of infant care in their States, and provide parent education and support services to parents participating in the demonstration project.
· The Secretary will select States with infant care shortages, aim for geographic diversity, and prioritize States committed to improving the quality of infant care.