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S. 4 (96th): Child Care Act of 1979

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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 Jan 15, 1979.

Child Care Act of 1979 - States the purposes of this Act to be to: (1) provide assistance to the States in improving the quality and coordination in child-care programs; (2) assess the need for child-care services in the Nation; (3) provide assistance to families who cannot pay the full cost of child-care services; and (4) strengthen the functioning of families by seeking to assure that parents are not forced by lack of available programs or financial resources to place a child in an undesirable facility. States that nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize any public agency or private individual or organization to interfere with parental authority. Requires States to submit a plan to the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in order to participate in the program authorized under this Act. Requires State plans to include provisions regarding: (1) the designation of a responsible State agency; (2) distribution of funds with priority to be given to child-care providers that provide priority for services on the basis of family need; (3) the establishment of fee schedules for services based on family need and size; (4) information and referral services; (5) child-care personnel training; (6) licensing of child-care providers; (7) parental involvement in the planning and evaluating of child-care programs; (8) maximum allowable administrative costs; and (9) the establishment of a State Advisory Panel to advise the State on child-care matters. Stipulates that the Secretary shall approve any plan that complies with the requirements under this Act. Requires the Secretary to first provide notice and a hearing before disapproving any State plan. Directs the Secretary to designate an administrative unit and an individual in charge of such unit within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to carry out the provisions of this Act and to coordinate other child-care activities within such Department. Provides for the establishment of a National Advisory Panel on Child Care Needs and Services within the Office of the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. Directs the Secretary, with the assistance of the National Advisory Panel, to develop standards for programs under this Act. Authorizes the Secretary to make grants to and enter into contracts with public and private entities for innovative demonstrative child-care projects. Directs participating States to submit a report to the Secretary outlining the current status of child-care licensing within the State. Directs the Secretary to develop a Model State Licensing of Child Care Providers Act to be used by the States as a guide to improving licensing of child-care providers. Authorizes the Secretary to provide training and technical assistance to the States. Limits allotments of funds appropriated under this Act to not more than one percent for Guam, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Establishes an allotment priority system for the States based on the number of children living in homes in which (1) both parents are employed; or (2) the child resides with only one parent and that parent is employed. Authorizes the Secretary, after reasonable notice and opportunity for hearing, to withhold payments to any State where there has been a substantial failure to comply with requirements of such State's plan or other applicable provisions under this Act. Directs the Secretary to: (1) review and evaluate programs carried out under this Act; and (2) submit a report on national child-care needs to the President and the Congress not later than four years after enactment of this Act. Authorizes necessary appropriations for fiscal years 1980-1984 to carry out the provisions of this Act.