Bill would create statewide purchase of care rate supporting low-income Delaware families

DELAWARE – Delaware lawmakers are pushing legislation to eliminate barriers in accessing quality childcare for families in need.

Senate Bill 59 would establish a statewide purchase of care rate for childcare providers.

That rate can come in the form of things like vouchers that help limited-income families pay for childcare. This service provides support for families with children in infancy to 13 years old.

Bill sponsor Senator Kyle Evans Gay tells us Kent and Sussex County rates have been significantly lower than New Castle County for years.

She adds that it’s time to level the playing field so that all Delawareans can access this crucial learning period to jump start their education. “When you think about a purchase of care voucher, it is an all or nothing. Either you can be in care, or you can’t. We want to do everything possible to ensure that families can get their children into care and to promote that early learning,” Senator Gay said.

“We know that children in care are getting hot meals. We know that children consistently in care are being provided trauma free safe environments to expand on their early learning.”

Senator Gay also says the program could help with workforce development. Parents will be able to afford to send their kids off to childcare which will allow them the opportunity to do things like going back to work or getting additional training. “Whether you look at it from an educational standpoint or getting parents to work standpoint, reducing a barrier to accessing this service is absolutely going to spur our economy and be an investment for our future,” Senator Gay said.

The bill would also pay licensed childcare providers statewide at the reimbursement rate of New Castle County. That number would be determined by the most current childcare market rate.

The bill now sits in the senate finance committee where it awaits consideration.

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