Bill Text - SB404 (2024)

(Second New Title) relative to expanding child care professionals' eligibility for the child care scholarship program.

Revision: Dec. 26, 2023, 2:13 p.m.










AN ACT relative to expanding child care professionals' eligibility for the child care scholarship program.


SPONSORS: Sen. Whitley, Dist 15; Sen. Rosenwald, Dist 13; Sen. Perkins Kwoka, Dist 21; Sen. Soucy, Dist 18; Sen. Altschiller, Dist 24; Sen. Watters, Dist 4; Sen. Fenton, Dist 10; Sen. Chandley, Dist 11; Sen. Prentiss, Dist 5; Sen. D'Allesandro, Dist 20; Sen. Bradley, Dist 3; Rep. McMahon, Rock. 17; Rep. D. Paige, Carr. 1; Rep. Simpson, Rock. 33; Rep. Wallner, Merr. 19


COMMITTEE: Health and Human Services






This bill establishes eligibility criteria for child care professionals to receive child care scholarships.


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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.

Matter removed from current law appears [in brackets and struckthrough.]

Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.






In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Twenty Four


AN ACT relative to expanding child care professionals' eligibility for the child care scholarship program.


Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:


1 Statement of Findings.  The general court hereby finds that:

I. The availability of quality, affordable, safe, and reliable child care is critical to allow parents to remain in the workforce, build a strong and future-focused economy, and provide a supportive environment for healthy child development that prepares children for success in school and in life.  

II. Recently, the inherent fragility of New Hampshire's child care system has become undeniable and there is an urgent need to solidify the child care sector through system-based policy change and investment.

III. Broad investment in the child care system has been identified as emergent and necessary priorities from diverse stakeholders including, businesses, state leaders, providers, early care and education professional, higher education, faith leaders, and families across New Hampshire.

IV. Parents need and deserve equitable access and true choice in care for their children.  Reliable, quality care not only supports parents to enter and stay in the workforce but provides critical health and development support for children.

V. The child care scholarship or subsidy plays a significant role in ensuring all New Hampshire families have choice and access to quality, safe, and reliable child care, regardless of income, geographic location, or field of work.

VI. New Hampshire has an opportunity to address the child care staffing shortage that is the result of compensation being too low to attract and retain the early childhood educators who provide care and education in support of children and families.

VII.  New Hampshire recognizes that our child care professionals make far too little in wages and one way that the state can offer a fuller benefits package is by providing child care scholarships to child care professionals.

VIII. The child care staffing crisis has become so significant that many programs have at least one classroom closed due to a lack of staff members. Covering the cost of child care will not only entice child care providers back into classrooms but enable more classroom capacity – increasing overall opportunities for caregivers who want to return to work but cannot find care.

IX. Broadening categorical eligibility for child care scholarships to New Hampshire child care professionals will go far to alleviate staffing pressures by maximizing benefits and allowing centers to redirect funds to additional recruitment efforts.

2 New Subparagraph; New Hampshire Employment Program and Family Assistance Program; Rulemaking; Child Care Scholarship Program. Amend RSA 167:83, II by inserting after subparagraph (q) the following new subparagraph:

(r)  Categorical eligibility for verified New Hampshire child care professionals, as permitted under federal law and regulation.

(1)  Households with at least one verified New Hampshire child care professional employed at a qualified child care center, may automatically be eligible for a child care scholarship provided the following provisions are met:

(A)  Each child in the household meets federal eligibility requirements that require each child to be:

(i)  A resident of New Hampshire;

(ii)  A U.S. citizen or qualified immigrant; and

(iii)  Thirteen years of age or under at the time of application or recertification; or through 17 years of age for children with disabilities who are enrolled before the age of 13.

(B)  Each eligible child resides with a verified New Hampshire child care professional.  A verified New Hampshire child care professional means an individual who:

(i)  Is a resident of New Hampshire;

(ii)  Is employed by a certified child care center and works a minimum of 25 hours per week; and

(iii)  Whose employment and eligibility is verified by the certified child care center at which the child care professional is employed.

(C)  A certified child care center is a New Hampshire based, licensed child care center, licensed home child care center, or licensed-exempt center, that is registered and enrolled to accept child care scholarships with the state of New Hampshire.  

(i)  A family shall not be eligible if care is provided by a provider not licensed according to child-care center licensure rules; or registered and enrolled according to requirements for registered child care providers in the child care assistance program.

(ii)  A family shall not be eligible if care is provided in a home child care by: a parent or stepparent; a legal guardian; or a person living in the same residence as the child in need of care.

(2)  A household that meets the requirements outlined in subparagraph (1) shall be deemed categorically eligible and shall have all earned and unearned income excluded from the eligibility determination.   

(3)  Categorically eligible households qualify for the maximum child care scholarship benefit available according to the most current market rate survey for family size, child age, type of program and service level.

(4)  Upon implementation, the department of health and human services shall develop and engage child care providers and/or staff on verification process for categorical eligibility and develop a public awareness campaign to support broad access.

3  Effective Date. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.




Revised 12/26/23





AN ACT relative to expanding child care professionals' eligibility for the child care scholarship program.


FISCAL IMPACT:      [ X ] State              [    ] County               [    ] Local              [    ] None



Estimated State Impact - Increase / (Decrease)


FY 2024

FY 2025

FY 2026

FY 2027






Revenue Fund(s)




$18,530,000 to $26,940,000

$19,610,000 to $28,020,000

$20,590,000 to $29,420,000

Funding Source(s)

General Fund






Funding Source(s)


Does this bill provide sufficient funding to cover estimated expenditures? [X] No

Does this bill authorize new positions to implement this bill? [X] No



This bill expands the eligibility criteria for child care professionals to receive child care scholarships.  The Department of Health and Human Services makes the following estimates and assumptions:

  • There are roughly 7,000 to 10,000 employees who work at eligible child care providers;
  • Roughly 21% of these employees have children that would benefit from the program, resulting in 1,470 to 2,100 children being eligible for child care under the eligibility criteria established by the bill;
  • The language “qualify for the maximum child care scholarship” means that workers eligible for child care scholarship will receive the maximum standard rate based on their level of service, age of children, and type of facility, without a household cost share.
  • Categorically eligible children will fall into the following age groups:
    • 11% - birth to 17 Months;
    • 11% - 18 to 35 months;
    • 28% - 36 to 78 months;
    • 50%  - 79 to 155 months.


Based on the demographics above, the average weekly benefit would be $244.37. The Department expect the benefits of categorical eligibility to cost between $18,680,000 and $26,690,000 in year one, with annual increases of five percent per year.


The Department notes that the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) does not allow for use of CCDF federal dollars for households with greater than 85% of the state median income.  Since the bill requires that the child care scholarship program disregard all income and resources for categorically eligible children, CCDF dollars cannot be used.  Therefore, the cost of the bill will be paid with state general funds.


In addition to the programmatic costs noted above, the Department states that it would need to make systems changes to its New HEIGHTS eligibility system.  The Department expects the changes to cost approximately $250,000.  The costs of the system changes will be one time, with no ongoing operational costs.



Department of Health and Human Services