Bill Summary for H 322 (2023-2024)
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AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A TRI-SHARE CHILD CARE PILOT PROGRAM TO INCREASE ACCESS TO HIGH-QUALITY, AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE AND TO APPROPRIATE FUNDS FOR THAT PURPOSE.Intro. by Willis, Clemmons, Hardister, Lofton.
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Requires the Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Child Development and Early Education (Division), in collaboration with the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (NCPC), to establish a three-year pilot project to implement the Tri-Share Child Care program, a program that creates a public/private partnership to share the cost of child care equally between employers, eligible employees, and the State to: (1) make high-quality child care affordable and accessible for working families; (2) help employers retain and attract employees; and (3) help stabilize childcare businesses across the State. Clarifies that child care includes part-time and full-time care, before and after school care, and summer day camps.
Directs the Division and NCPC to select up to three local partnerships to serve as regional facilitator hubs (Hubs) to implement and administer the pilot project and act as regional intermediaries between employers, families, child care providers, and the State. Requires that Hubs be selected from geographically diverse areas across the State, with one selected from a tier one county (which has the same designation as that established by the North Carolina Department of Commerce's 2023 County Tier Designations). Defines an eligible employee as an employee (1) who is employed by a participating employer, (2) who has a household income between 185% and 300% of the federal poverty level, and (3) who is not otherwise eligible for subsidized child care in this State. Requires the Hubs to establish and determine program eligibility and other criteria for the child care program, including but not limited to each of the following: (1) ensuring payment for the cost of child care is divided equally between an employer, an eligible employee, and the State; (2) soliciting participating employers; (3) ensuring participating employers agree to (i) identify and recruit eligible employees, (ii) provide the employer portion of each participating employee's child care costs, and (iii) maintain communication with the regional facilitator hub regarding each eligible employee's continued employment and eligibility; (4) verifying that child care providers seeking to participate in the program are licensed in this State; (5) upon determining an employee's eligibility, ensuring payment by the employee of the employee's portion of the cost of child care; (6) coordinating payments between employers and licensed child care providers.
Appropriates from the General Fund to the Division, to be allocated NCPC: $900,000 for each year of the 2023-2025 fiscal biennium and $900,000 for the 2025-2026 fiscal year to provide the State portion of funding for the Tri-Share child care pilot project established by the act. For the 2025-2026 fiscal year, directs the Director of the Budget to also include in the base budget the amount of nonrecurring funds needed to support the pilot project. Funds appropriated pursuant to this section will be divided evenly in each fiscal year among the Hubs selected to participate in the pilot project. Upon completion of the pilot project, any unexpended funds will revert back to the General Fund. Caps the amount of funding that a Hub may use on administrative costs at 9% of its funding.
Requires the Division to submit a report to the specified NCGA joint committee within six months of completion of the pilot project on the following: the number of children served, by age and county; total project costs, including any administrative costs; the amount of funds needed to expand the program statewide; the list of employers participating in the pilot project; and any other relevant information deemed appropriate.
Effective July 1, 2023.