Childcare costs continue to surge nationwide, disproportionately affecting low-income families and caregivers for foster children and those with disabilities and other special needs. In an effort to help combat the childcare cliff in Congress—in which House Republicans are trying to cut vital funding for early education programs—Vice President Kamala Harris has announced a landmark legislation that will help reduce costs for more than 100,000 US families.

As part of President Biden’s historic Executive Order on Care, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday finalized a rule that will help strengthen the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, which the White House says supports over a million children and their families each month with childcare assistance.

The landmark rule will cover several crucial areas, including:

  • Making it easier for families to participate in the CCDBG program by encouraging states to eliminate red tape and streamline enrollment processes
  • Capping co-payments for participating families to no more than 7% of income
  • Encouraging states to eliminate co-payments entirely for families of children with disabilities, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, children in Head Start, and families at or below the federal poverty level
  • Directing states to increase pay rates for more than 140,000 childcare providers and ensuring that payments are met on time

These directives will offer more than 100,000 families the chance at reduced or free childcare costs, making it a major win for so many who are struggling to afford care right now.

Along with this new legislation, Biden and Harris have also proposed major investments to both increase child care worker pay and limit childcare costs, which will help ensure that most families pay no more than $10 a day for care. Of course, reaching out to your local reps is a solid way to help sound the alarm closer to home wherever possible, so they can help advocate on your behalf for policies that minimize costs on a state level.

Here’s hoping their initiatives pass through to ease the financial burden felt by so many American families these days, because it’s long past time—all families deserve access to affordable care without jumping through hoops to get it.