Federal welfare reform, which was enacted in 1996, stressed the importance of work and job preparation for achieving financial self-sufficiency. Realizing that the cost, availability, stability, and quality of child care can act as barriers for low-income parents, as part of welfare reform, Congress established the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). CCDF is block grant money that states can use to encourage the availability of quality child care services. In Colorado the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP), administered by county departments of human services, uses CCDF funds to offer subsidies to low income families. In 1997 the Colorado General Assembly declared that “the state’s policies in connection with the provision of child care assistance and the effective delivery of such assistance are critical to the ultimate success of any welfare reform program” (Section 26-2-802(1), C.R.S.) and the Colorado Child Care Assistance Program was created.
The Colorado Child Care Learning Group is reviewing options to maintain the Colorado Child Care Assistance program during this economic downturn. The Child Care Assistance program is suffering from proposed statewide cuts and projected county shortfalls in TANF funding. A loss of child care assistance to a low-income family will likely include the loss of employment and a fall into poverty.