SB 181 — Education – Child Care Subsidies – Mandatory Funding Level - Maryland Catholic Conference

SB 181 — Education – Child Care Subsidies – Mandatory Funding Level

Committee: Senate Budget & Taxation Committee

Position: SUPPORT

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

Currently, funding levels for the Child Care Subsidy Program only cover thirty percent of the community’s child care options. Federal guidelines suggest the subsidies should open up seventy-five percent of the options; in this regard, Maryland falls woefully behind. Senate Bill 181 would raise the funding level to the 60th percentile beginning in Fiscal Year 2021 and for every year after that.

The Catholic Church has a strong interest in alleviating poverty. Providing working low-income parents with child care services is a significant way to ease the burden of poverty. Often, a barrier to sustainable and full-time employment is the availability and affordability of reliable child care services. The Child Care Subsidy Program aims to remove those barriers by increasing access to child care services for low-income parents and making it more affordable, thus providing more equal access to child care services for low-income Marylanders. It’s also expected to assist child care providers who serve low-income communities by allowing for more stable payments by clients. In creating such stability, it’s anticipated that the quality of child care in low-income communities will increase.

The Conference appreciates your consideration, for these reasons, respectfully requests a favorable report on Senate Bill 181.