The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)’s new report, “Child Care and Housing: Big Expenses With Too Little Help Available,” discusses the chronic underfunding of child care and housing assistance programs, which are fundamental to supporting low-income children’s health and development, parental employment, and other positive life outcomes. Like federal housing assistance, child care assistance only serves a small fraction of eligible families—just 1 in 6 families eligible for assistance receive it—and may suffer from further disinvestment in the coming year.
The report touches on the implications of returning to low funding levels under the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) if President Trump and Congress do not reach a 2020 budget agreement. If funding is set at BCA levels, non-defense discretionary funding will fall 11 percent or $54 billion below the 2019 funding level. Modest increases in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in 2018 facilitated investments to ensure program quality, expand eligibility, support professional development, and serve more families. Likewise, increased HUD funding supported the expansion of rental assistance for people with disabilities. Given the important role both programs play in lifting low-income families out of poverty, the authors conclude that child care and housing assistance should continue to be prioritized for funding increases in the 2020 budget.