Over 240 organizations have signed on to a letter to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, asking him to maintain the Child Care Bureau and its programs for working families. This letter is a response to Leavitt’s February 22 announcement to Congress that the Child Care Bureau will be combined with the Office of Family Assistance. Opponents of the change fear that this will limit the effectiveness of the Child Care Bureau and will cut back on childcare programs for the working poor. This year, the Child Care Bureau will give $5 billion to states for childcare programs.
In their letter to Leavitt, the organizations wrote that the change “fails to recognize the importance of child care to the education and well-being of children, minimizes the importance of child care assistance in supporting working families, particularly low-income parents; and has the potential to disruptÉ integrated early education and after-school services.” The letter, circulated by the National Women’s Law Center, included such signatories as the American Federation of Teachers, the YWCA, the National Association of Social Workers and various state early education agencies.
Members of Congress also have concerns about the apparent demotion of the Child Care Bureau, reports the New York Times, and are considering an appeal to the administration. Changes to the operation of the Department of Health and Human Services do not require Congressional approval.
LEARN MORE Read the letter to Secretary Leavitt (PDF)