Senate approves Tester measure to improve tribal child care facilities

Senator’s measure wins unanimous approval, heads to House of Representatives

(U.S. SENATE) – The U.S. Senate today approved Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan measure to improve more child care facilities in Indian Country by removing a restriction that limits funding if making improvements to the facility would temporarily reduce child care services.

Tester, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said the restriction is keeping tribes and tribal organizations from building or renovating child care facilities. Speaking on the Senate floor before the vote, Tester noted that of the 260 tribes or tribal organizations that receive funds for child care services, only 14 constructed new care facilities in the last ten years.

“Renovation and construction of tribal facilities is already an allowable activity under this legislation, but the law explicitly states that Indian tribes or tribal organizations cannot reduce services even temporarily to improve or replace their facilities,” Tester said. “This is a simple, common-sense amendment that will improve the quality of life in Indian Country for our future generations.”

Tester’s measure was added to the Child Care Development Black Grant reauthorization bill that passed the Senate today 97 to 1. The initiative supports low-income families by helping pay for child care.

The overall bill, with Tester’s addition, now goes to the House of Representatives for approval.