New Law Creates Opportunities in the Early Childhood Marketplace

On November 17th, 2014 the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. It is the reauthorization of the Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 1990, updated after 24 years.

The new CCDBG contains some provision that will have a substantial impact on the child care industry and the vendors who support it. It will have a particularly big impact on the lightly regulated 180,000 strong home child care segment.

Higher standards in two areas provide significant opportunities for vendors:

  1. Health and Safety Requirements, and
  2. Activities to Improve the Quality of Child Care.

The Health and Safety provisions include:

  • Requires states to establish health and safety requirements in ten areas like prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), first aid, and CPR,
  • Requires states to conduct criminal background checks for all staff,
  • Requires emergency preparedness planning, and
  • Requires states to have standards for appropriate child-to-provider ratios dependent on the age of children

The Activities to Improve the Quality of Child Care include:

  • Requires establishment of professional development and training requirements with ongoing annual training and progression to improve the knowledge and skills of providers, and
  • Requires states to implement early learning and development guidelines describing what children should know and be able to do from birth to kindergarten entry,

All of these represent opportunities for vendors of these types of products and services to capitalize on the provisions of the new law. The greatest opportunity lies within the lightly regulated but large home child care provider segment of the market. The regulatory environment differs greatly from state-to-state so there is more opportunity in the most lightly regulated states where the new rules will have the most impact. However, the regulations apply to the licensed child care providers also and some regulations are likely stronger than their current state regulations.

For more information about the new CCDBG, see the plain language summary of statutory changes in the CCDBG at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ/resource/ccdbg-of-2014-plain-language-summary-of-statutory-changes.

For more information on the states regulatory environments, see “We Can Do Better, Child Care Aware® of America’s Ranking of State Child Care Center Regulations and Oversight, 2013 Update”. http://www.usa.childcareaware.org

The importance of this act was fully discussed at the MCH sponsored Early Childhood Marketing Leadership Council meeting in October 2013. For the White Paper summary of that event, see https://mchdata.com/collateral/white-papers/From-Old-K-12-to-New-Age-0-18-Market.pdf.