Credit: Lillian Mongeau/EdSource

Head Start students learn about counting.

Congress has finally updated the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which has been up for reauthorization since 2002.

The Senate on Monday voted 88-1 to approve the bill, which provides billions in state aid each year to help low-income families afford child care services. The House passed the measure in September.

The bill will require background checks and annual inspections for all child care providers.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant Act, which serves 1.5 million children, was first passed in 1990 as part of welfare reform under President George H.W. Bush. States use the federal grants to fund vouchers for low-income families to subsidize child care costs.

The bill was not particularly controversial and advocates don’t know why it took so long to reauthorize.

The program provides $5.3 billion a year, the Associated Press reports.

“This bill reforms and refreshes important child care legislation, so moms and dads of modest means can afford child care while they go to work or school,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., a sponsor of the bill, in a statement. “Child care is something all families worry about, regardless of income or zip code. I look forward to this bill being signed into law so we can help ensure all children get the care they need and deserve so they and their families can have a better, brighter future.”


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