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Journal Issue: The Next Generation of Antipoverty Policies Volume 17 Number 2 Fall 2007

Next Steps for Federal Child Care Policy
Mark H. Greenberg

Conclusion: Toward a National Child Care Strategy

In the period leading up to enactment of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, congressional discussion of child care policy was largely limited to disputes about whether the “right” level for additional block grant funding was zero, $1 billion, or another figure. Much of the discussion was confined to the estimated costs of meeting work participation requirements for TANF recipients. The national debate about next steps for child care policy should be broader, beginning with a shared vision of good child care choices for all families. To turn that vision into reality, it is important to focus on how to ensure that all families have access to child care assistance with good choices of care available as the nation moves toward developing a more comprehensive framework of early care and education. A low-income guarantee, a federal Early Care and Education Strategy Fund, and expanded tax assistance for all families could bring us closer to that goal.