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LB 507: Adopt the Step Up to Quality Child Care Act (QRIS)

As introduced: LB 507 adopts the Step Up to Quality Act, putting in place a quality rating and improvement system (QRIS) with a scale of steps from one to five. The system is available to all child care and early childhood education programs voluntarily, but participation is required for programs that receive significant amounts of public funds. LB 507 phases in mandatory participation for such programs over three years starting July 1, 2014. At that time, programs that received over $500,000 in child care subsidy assistance in FY 2011-12 become participants. Beginning July 1, 2015, programs that received over $250,000 in FY 2011-12 become participants, and beginning July 1, 2016, programs that received over $250,000 in the preceding fiscal year become participants. Qualifying providers would receive incentive bonuses and other incentives based on completion of specific requirements.

As Amended: This bill, as amended by AM 1153, also increases the income eligibility requirements from 120% of federal poverty guidelines to 125% in FY 2014 and to 130% in FY 2015 for families qualifying for the Child Care Subsidy Program. An increase in eligibility to 125% of federal poverty guidelines increases the number on the subsidy by an estimated 173 children in FY 2014. The increase to 130% adds an additional 173 children in FY 2015.

Introducing Senator(s): Campbell; Bolz (priority); Conrad; Mello; Nordquist; Cook

Committee:  Health and Human Services

Committee Hearing Date:  February 20, 2013

Current Status: Approved by Governor on June 4, 2013

Estimated Fiscal Impact: The combined fiscal impact of LB507 as amended is $1,230,616 ($1,221,004 General Fund $9,612 Federal Funds) for FY 2013-2014 and $3,140,043 ($3,20,820 General Fund $19,223 Federal Funds) for FY 2014-2015

Voices for Children’s Position: Support (see our written testimony)

Research: Fact sheet; Support Affordable Child Care; Amended Bill; A Game Changer for Kids; Costs of Child Care

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