After the phase-in period, states participating in the child care program will no longer be able to spend more than 10% of federal child care and development grants on child care under the age of 6.
Linda Smith, director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Early Years Initiative, said if a state only participated in the pre-K program, it could take most 3 and 4-year-olds out of child care. This would likely increase costs for providers as they would have to fill the niches with more infants and toddlers, who cost on average three times as much to care for, she said.
Malik said cities like Washington, DC and New York offer examples of what can happen if governments only invest in pre-K. “This may have unintended consequences for the provision of infant and toddler care,” he said, noting that the DC Council has since approved funding to try to address these shortages.
An assistant from the education and labor committee pointed out that the federal match is more generous for the daycare program, so states are unlikely to participate only in the pre-K program.
Although the pre-K program is universally accessible, the daycare program has restrictions on who qualifies based on family income. Participating states would establish networks of eligible providers and certify families eligible for grants. Approved families would issue certificates to providers, who the state would reimburse for most of the costs.