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Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and racial equity: Opportunities in the CCDBG reauthorization to support racial equity in state child care systems

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In this brief, we first examine a report from the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights Mississippi Advisory Committee which investigates access to child care assistance in Mississippi from a civil rights perspective. In this report, based on testimony from public hearings held by the Committee, they explained the reason for the investigation: "given the continued disproportionate and long term impact of childhood poverty on the African American community in Mississippi, the Committee sought to examine whether the way in which early child care and development resources were being allocated in Mississippi may serve to exacerbate, rather than narrow these disparities." The Committee's investigation led to findings that the state's administration of CCDBG funds, including implementation of discretionary state policies, restricts low-income families of color from accessing high-quality, affordable child care. These findings should push all states to examine the administration of child-care assistance programs to ensure they are serving families in a way that addresses racial disparities. This brief also provides a set of recommendations to support racial equity through effective implementation of CCDBG with special attention focused on opportunities to enroll, engage, and educate Black children and families. Our goal is to support state administrators committed to racial equity and advocates who are partnering with state administrators. While CCDBG is primarily funded at the federal level, the new law did not come with the significant increases in federal funding needed to cover the cost of implementation. While funding CCDBG will be a challenge, states have significant discretion and authority to determine the policies of their child care assistance programs and how they spend CCDBG funds. As states analyze new regulations, we encourage them to reexamine their programs and use state-level discretion to implement policies that support the unique and diverse needs of all children and families. (author abstract)
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