November 17, 2014


Hirono Pushed to Include Native Hawaiian Children in Improvements to Federal Child Care Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono today voted in favor of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014. The Senate passed the bill by a bipartisan vote of 88-1. The bill updates the 1990 CCDBG program, which provides federal funding to states to help parents afford child care while working or in job training programs. The measure now heads to the White House for President Obama’s signature.

“For some parents, not having access to quality child care means they can’t work to support their family. This legislation allows families to balance the need to work with being able to ensure the health, safety, and development of their keiki,” said Senator Hirono. “Each month more than 9,000 Hawaii families rely on federally-supported child care services that allow them to work or to acquire new job skills. Strengthening and renewing the CCDBG program is an important way to keep our families safe and strong, and I’m proud to vote in favor of this bill.”

In December 2013, Senator Hirono partnered with Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) to send a letter to Senate committee leaders urging them to ensure Native Hawaiian children continue to be served. With the support of Native Hawaiian and national Indian organizations, updated language proposed by Senator Hirono is included in the final legislation. In addition, an amendment by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Hirono and Murkowski increases funding for current Native Hawaiian and mainland tribal child care programs.

For its part, The Native Hawaiian Education Council submitted a letter of support for Hirono’s changes to the bill. Native Hawaiian child care programs include Alu Like, Pauahi Keiki Scholars, and Keiki o Ka Aina.

Overall, the CCDBG Act of 2014 makes several improvements to the current child care law, including:

  • Comprehensive background checks. Requires comprehensive background checks for all child care providers receiving federal funds, including state criminal and sex-offender registries and state-based abuse and neglect registries. Also adds inspection requirements for license-exempt child care providers.
  • Better training for providers. Helps provide increased professional development, including child care college coursework or credentials. Also requires training for providers on business practices, First Aid and CPR, prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), child abuse prevention, and culturally appropriate ways to serve Native Hawaiian children.
  • Helps parents choose quality providers. Shares information on quality child care options and how families can access key resources; posts the results of health and safety inspections online.

Hawaii parents and military families can search for child care options at PATCH Hawaii: