Buckner’s child care assistance eligibility bill moves to third House reading

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Aurora state Rep. Janet Buckner’s bill to help keep children eligible for state assistance programs is headed for a third reading on the Colorado House floor after passing on a voice vote Monday morning, March 7.

State Rep. Janet Buckner, D-AuroraBuckner’s bill, HB16-1183, seeks to align state statutes regarding eligibility for child care assistance with federal laws. Specifically, the bill would make it so any child receiving Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) support would remain eligible for services for an entire year before any redetermination of eligibility as long as the child’s family income remains below 85 percent of the state median income for that family size.

“This bill aligns state statute with federal guidelines,” said Rep. Buckner in a news release. “If the state does not comply with the new federal guidelines, we would lose $70 million from the federal government. This bill increases access to affordable child care for Colorado families by ensuring eligibility for a full year.”

The CCCAP provides child care assistance for working families and those in job training or enrolled in the Colorado Works Program, and is administered through county social/human services departments through the Colorado Department of Human Services.

Buckner said Colorado risks losing about $88 million by not passing a measure to align state statute with federal guideline by Sept. 30 — that’s $69 million annually in Child Care and Development Fund monies, with about $19 million in matching funds and maintenance of effort.

The bill is intended to reduce the number of children affected by sudden rulings of ineligibility, which sometimes occur when the child’s family sees a rise in wages that pushes the family over the income limit for CCCAP eligibility. Buckner pointed to the loss of early learning and child care opportunities for families at or near the income limit can also affect parents’ ability to work.