Education Opinion

Big HHS Announcement Today: ESEA Waiver Approach Comes to Child Care

By Sara Mead — May 16, 2013 1 min read
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Big announcement from HHS today on proposed new regulations that would significantly expand regulation of childcare providers receiving subsidies through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), a federal program that provides funds to states to help them provide childcare subsidies to low-income parents.

This is a big deal. I haven’t had time to read the proposed regulations (all 199 pages of them) yet, so I’ll hold off on commenting on the substance for now.

What I will say is that this looks a lot like the Obama administration is extending to child care an approach it’s already taken with ESEA waivers: Aggressively interpreting the boundaries of its executive authority in an effort to fix problems in a major piece of underlying legislation that Congress is long overdue to reauthorize. In this case, that legislation is the CCDBG Act and Section 418 of the Social Security Act. CCDBG was last reauthorized as part of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996--aka welfare reform--and subsequent efforts to reauthorize the law have stalled. The proposed regulation is now open for a 75 day public comment period, which may result in revisions to the proposed rules. In any case, smart folks should keep an eye on this for both its early childhood implications and as a reflection of how the administration is dealing with the larger context in Washington today.

The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.