Trenton – In an effort to bolster the state’s child care infrastructure, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee unanimously advanced legislation today sponsored by Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz and Senator Joe Vitale. The bills, which will assist parents, providers and employees, are part of a larger package the Majority Leader unveiled earlier this year.
“These investments will not only benefit our parents and our child care providers but also our entire state,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Access to affordable, high quality child care improves outcomes and pays dividends, every dollar invested offers a $4-$9 return in individual and community benefits. As we face worker shortages across industries, reducing the cost of child care will allow more parents to return to the workforce at a time when we need it most. This multipronged approach works to tackle this issue from every angle to ensure the maximum impact on our economy and our children.”
“High quality and affordable child care should be accessible to every family in the state. These bills will help provide that accessibility by expanding the state’s child care subsidy program to reach more families in need, while also increasing the number of spots available for infants and toddlers,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex), chair of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “Additionally, by providing tax credits for staff members we can help our child care providers retain the employees they need to ensure a sustainable, high quality workforce.”
The committee approved the following bills:
S.1099 – Vitale/Ruiz: The bill allows a gross income tax credit for childcare staff members who have been employed by the same provider for a continuous 6-month period during the taxable year.
S.2476 – Ruiz/Vitale: The bill would provide funding for the expansion of infant and toddler seats by 1,000, reimbursed at $22,000 per spot. The grant program would prioritize providers in communities identified as childcare deserts, areas with high percentage low-income families, as well as those that align their childcare center with high quality preschool.
S.2478 – Ruiz/Vitale: The bill would extend the enrollment-based payment model currently set to expire on June 30, 2022. The bill would extend the program for three years, with a report on the impact at the end of this year and the end of the three years.
S.2480 – Ruiz/Vitale: The bill would extend childcare subsidies to families earning up to 300% of the federal poverty line. Currently, families earning up to 250% FPL are eligible.