WEIGHING CHILD CARE

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FYI: Child care funding is the primary battleground in the TANF reauthorization fight, now in its final stages on Capitol Hill. Democrats failed to insert added child care subsidies into an administration-backed bill that the House passed last week. The Bush administration based its funding on projections that the number of families using the subsidy will drop by 200,000 by 2007. Advocates have argued it will in fact grow as a result of the bill’s added work requirements. The Center for Budget Policy and Priorities noted that, already, one in seven kids who qualify for child care aid don’t get it. The problem will worsen, CBPP argues, because states will have to shift funds from child care programs for people who aren’t getting cash assistance to shore up subsidies for those who face new federal work requirements. The Urban Institute has chimed in by urging policy makers to consider the needs of child care providers. Without offering a specific policy prescription, the Urban Institute’s brief spells out the current incentives and disincentives for child care providers to participate in federal subsidy programs. [2/18/03]