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S. 1086 (113th): Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Nov 19, 2014.

(This measure has not been amended since it was passed by the House on September 15, 2014. The summary of that version is repeated here.) Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 - (Sec. 3) Reauthorizes the child care and development block grant (CCDBG) program under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (CCDBG Act) through FY2020 at specified levels. (Sec. 4) Allows governors to designate a collaborative agency or establish a joint interagency office to serve as the lead agency responsible for administering the CCDBG program.

Requires the lead agency, at the option of an Indian tribe or organization in the state, to collaborate and coordinate with that tribe or tribal organization in the development of the state child care and development plan in a timely manner.

(Sec. 5) Increases from two to three years the period that must be covered by a state child care and development plan.

Revises and expands plan requirements, including, among others, those regarding state licensing, consumer and provider education information, training and professional development, child-to-provider ratios, health and safety, child abuse reporting, protection for working parents, priority for low-income populations, coordination with other programs, and the needs of children in child care services during the period before, during, and after a state of emergency, including a statewide child care disaster plan meeting specified criteria. Prescribes early learning and developmental guidelines.

Requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families, to report annually about whether each state uses funds allocated to it for the fiscal year involved in accordance with the specified priority for services.

Authorizes a state to use funds to establish or support a system of local or regional child care resource and referral organizations.

Requires the state plan to demonstrate that the state has developed and conducted (within the two years preceding submission of the application containing the state plan) a statistically valid and reliable survey of the market rates for child care services in the state or an alternative methodology, such as a cost estimation model.

(Sec. 6) Revises requirements for activities to improve the quality of child care.

Requires that states spend the following percentages of their program funding to improve the quality of child care: (1) at least 7% in the first two fiscal years after the enactment of this Act, (2) at least 8% in the third and fourth fiscal years, and (3) at least 9% in the fifth and each succeeding full fiscal year after enactment. Requires states to spend, in addition, at least 3% of such funds received by the second full fiscal year after enactment, and received for each succeeding full fiscal year, to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers.

Requires states receiving funds under the CCDBG Act to: (1) support training and professional development of the child care workforce, (2) improve development or use of early learning and developmental guidelines, (3) develop or enhance a tiered quality rating system for child care providers and services, and (4) improve the supply and quality of child care programs and services for infants and toddlers through specified activities.

(Sec. 7) Requires any state receiving CCDBG funds to have in effect: (1) policies and procedures to require and conduct criminal background checks, with a 10-year look-back period, for current and prospective staff members of child care providers; and (2) licensing, regulation, and registration requirements that prohibit the employment of certain ineligible individuals as child care staff members. Requires a state to ensure that such policies and procedures are published on the websites of state and local lead agencies. Makes ineligible for employment by a child care provider receiving assistance under this Act any individual who: (1) refuses to consent to a criminal background check, (2) knowingly makes a materially false statement in connection with such a background check, (3) is registered or is required to be registered on a state sex offender registry or the National Sex Offender Registry, or (4) has been convicted of one or more specified felonies. Prescribes requirements for the process of background checks, including fees a state may charge. (Sec. 8) Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to: (1) provide technical assistance to states (which may be on a reimbursable basis) by qualified experts on practices grounded in scientifically valid research to carry out the CCDBG Act; (2) disseminate, for voluntary informational purposes, information on practices that scientifically valid research indicates are most successful in improving the quality of programs that receive CCDBG assistance; and (3) after consultation with the heads of any other federal agencies involved, issue guidance and disseminate information on best practices regarding use of funding combined by the states.

Authorizes the Secretary to waive, upon state request, for up to three years any provision under the CCDBG program, or sanctions imposed upon a state for noncompliance with requirements, if the Secretary makes certain findings, including that the waiver will, by itself, contribute to or enhance the states's ability to carry out CCDBG purposes.

Declares that nothing shall be construed as granting the Secretary authority to permit states to alter the eligibility requirements for eligible children, including work requirements, job training, or educational program participation, that apply to the parents of eligible children.

Requires states receiving CCDBG funds to collect monthly information on whether children receiving CCDBG assistance are homeless.

Requires a state to report annually to the Secretary aggregate data on the number of child fatalities occurring among children while in the care and facility of child care providers receiving CCDBG assistance, listed by the type of child care provider and indicating whether the providers are licensed or license-exempt.

Directs the Secretary to operate, directly or through the use of grants or contracts, a national toll-free hotline and website.

Prohibits any quarterly state CCDBG reports to the Secretary from containing personally identifiable information.

(Sec. 9) Revises the amount the Secretary is required to reserve from annual appropriations for CCDBG payments to Indian tribes and tribal organizations. Requires a reservation of 2% of such appropriations (currently, between 1% and 2%), but allows for a greater reservation in certain circumstances.

Directs the Secretary to reserve up to $1.5 million of the amount appropriated for the CCDBG program each fiscal year for the operation of the national toll-free hotline and website.

Requires the Secretary also to reserve up to 1/2 of 1% of CCDBG program appropriations each to: (1) support technical assistance and dissemination of information on practices most successful in improving the quality of programs receiving CCDBG assistance; and (2) conduct research and demonstration activities, as well as periodic external, independent evaluations of the impact of the CCDBG program on increasing access to, and improving the safety and quality of, child care services.

Directs the Secretary, in consultation with Indian tribes and tribal organizations, to develop minimum child care standards applicable to any of them receiving CCDBG assistance.

Requires the Secretary to waive the prohibition against tribal use of CCDBG funds for construction or renovation of child care facilities if it would decrease the level of child care services, in any case where: (1) the decrease is temporary, and (2) the level of child care services will increase or improve after the construction or renovation is completed.

(Sec. 10) Defines "child with a disability" as one under age 13 who has a disability and is eligible for early intervention services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Caps the family assets of an "eligible child" at $1 million.

(Sec. 11) Declares that nothing in the CCDBG Act shall be construed in a manner to: (1) favor or promote the use of grants and contracts for the receipt of child care services under the CCDBG Act over the use of child care certificates; or (2) disfavor or discourage the use of such certificates for the purchase of child care services, including those services provided by private or nonprofit entities, such as faith-based providers.

(Sec. 12) Directs the Comptroller General (GAO) to study the number of families eligible to receive assistance under the CCDBG Act, identified by the type of assistance requested, who have applied for it and been placed on a waiting list.

(Sec. 13) Directs the Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of Education, to conduct an interdepartmental review of all early learning and care programs for children under age six.