Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is trying to usher through reforms to a federal child care program this week.
The Child Care and Development Block Grant program hasn’t been reauthorized since 1996. Senator Mikulski says she and a bipartisan group of lawmakers have attempted to bring the legislation up to today’s standards in her reauthorization.
“We've learned so much more about children’s needs — that they need to be in a safe environment, that they need to feel secure when they're there,” Mikulski says.
The legislation mandates background checks for child care givers and attempts to prepare them for emergencies, like allergies and makes sure they have CPR training. Mikulski says the bill also ensures that the District, Virginia and Maryland can also craft their own local solutions.
“We didn’t want to over-regulate so that we would strangulate the ability to have daycare," Mikulski says. "And working again to find that sensible center we were able to come up with how we could work with their states to provide local flexibility but certain minimal national standards.”
The legislation could pass the Senate as early as today.