Progressive Maryland backs upgrade to Maryland's low child-care reimbursement level

Maryland, a wealthy state, is in the bottom tenth of states at providing reimbursement for child care expenses so low-income working families can afford decent child care while adults work. Proressive Maryland testifies today in favor of a bill that would require the state to monitor and adjust its rate to help working families provide a good environment for their children.

Testimony in Support of Maryland SB 294: Child Care Subsidy Program – Reimbursement Rate Adjustments

To: Maryland Senate Appropriations Committee 

Thank you for the opportunity to testify on SB 294. Progressive Maryland is a grassroots, nonprofit organization of more than 100,000 members and supporters who live in nearly every legislative district in the state. In addition, there are 18 affiliated religious, community and labor organizations that stand behind our work. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families in Maryland. Please note our strong support for this bill.

Child Care is one of the largest expenses Maryland families with young children face, often costing hundreds of dollars each and every week. For many low-income families, the expense of quality child care is insurmountable, relegating their children to the cheapest and poorest quality child care in their communities.

To provide low-income families with equal access to quality child care, the US Department of Health & Human Services strongly recommends that states provide subsidies with payment rates set at the 75th percentile of current market rates. Currently, Maryland’s payment rates fall at one of the very lowest levels in the country— only the 9th percentile of market rate.

SB 294 will require the Maryland State Department of Education to conduct market analyses at least every two years, adjust reimbursement rates accordingly, and then report its findings to the General Assembly. This will ensure that our state’s reimbursement rates stay current with the actual costs of child care, and that the General Assembly maintains adequate oversight and has input into the Child Care Subsidy Program.

Every child in Maryland deserves access to safe, quality child care, regardless of how much money their parents make. We urge a favorable report.