February 6, 2012
To: Appropriations Committee
From: Aubrey Mancuso, Policy Coordinator
RE: Support for LB 1015 to change the child care reimbursement rate
Voices for Children supports LB 1015. We came before this committee last year expressing concern about this cut and we applaud Senator Conrad’s efforts to restore this funding. There are several reasons why funding for this program is so critical:
- Access to safe, affordable, quality child care is an essential component of healthy development. Early learning experiences lay the groundwork for preparing children to become successful students and adults;
- Without subsidies, the cost of licensed care can be prohibitive. In 2011, full-time care in a licensed facility for one infant in Nebraska cost an average or $7,950 per year, or more than half the annual income of a minimum wage earner or more than the average cost of four-year in-state college tuition. This cost can be a barrier to seeking or maintaining employment;
- This cost amounts to 36% of the annual median income for single mothers in Nebraska;
- Research has found that subsidies provided through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) allowed 2,500 lower income single mothers to hold either a full or part time job in Nebraska when they would have been otherwise unable to do so.
- The number of licensed child care facilities in the state has declined over the past decade from 4,195 in 2000 to 3,902 in 2010. Lack of accessible licensed child care can result in long waiting lists and the use of unlicensed care;
- Many child care facilities are small businesses and decreases in payment rates impact their ability to continue providing care.
We hope that if there is the revenue to restore this cut sooner than originally planned that the committee will do so by advancing LB 1015. Thank you.