(a) Administration

The Secretary shall–

Terms Used In 42 USC 9858g

  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • scientifically valid research: includes applied research, basic research, and field-initiated research, for which the rationale, design, and interpretation are soundly developed in accordance with principles of scientific research. See 42 USC 9858n
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of Health and Human Services unless the context specifies otherwise. See 42 USC 9858n
  • State: means any of the several States, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. See 42 USC 9858n
  • writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See 1 USC 1

(1) coordinate all activities of the Department of Health and Human Services relating to child care, and, to the maximum extent practicable, coordinate such activities with similar activities of other Federal entities;

(2) collect, publish, and make available to the public a listing of State child care standards at least once every 3 years;

(3) provide technical assistance, such as business technical assistance, as described in section 9858c(c)(2)(V) of this title, to States (which may include providing assistance on a reimbursable basis) which shall be provided by qualified experts on practices grounded in scientifically valid research, where appropriate, to carry out this subchapter;

(4) disseminate, for voluntary informational purposes, information on practices that scientifically valid research indicates are most successful in improving the quality of programs that receive assistance with this subchapter; and

(5) after consultation with the heads of any other Federal agencies involved, issue guidance and disseminate information on best practices regarding the use of funding combined by States as described in section 9858c(c)(2)(O)(ii) of this title, consistent with laws other than this subchapter.

(b) Enforcement

(1) Review of compliance with State plan

The Secretary shall review and monitor State compliance with this subchapter and the plan approved under section 9858c(c) of this title for the State.

(2) Noncompliance

(A) In general

If the Secretary, after reasonable notice to a State and opportunity for a hearing, finds that–

(i) there has been a failure by the State to comply substantially with any provision or requirement set forth in the plan approved under section 9858c(c) of this title for the State; or

(ii) in the operation of any program for which assistance is provided under this subchapter there is a failure by the State to comply substantially with any provision of this subchapter;

the Secretary shall notify the State of the finding and shall require that the State reimburse the Secretary for any funds that were improperly expended for purposes prohibited or not authorized by this subchapter, that the Secretary deduct from the administrative portion of the State allotment for the following fiscal year an amount that is less than or equal to any improperly expended funds, or a combination of such options.

(B) Additional sanctions

In the case of a finding of noncompliance made pursuant to subparagraph (A), the Secretary may, in addition to imposing the sanctions described in such subparagraph, impose other appropriate sanctions, including recoupment of money improperly expended for purposes prohibited or not authorized by this subchapter, and disqualification from the receipt of financial assistance under this subchapter.

(C) Notice

The notice required under subparagraph (A) shall include a specific identification of any additional sanction being imposed under subparagraph (B).

(3) Issuance of rules

The Secretary shall establish by rule procedures for–

(A) receiving, processing, and determining the validity of complaints concerning any failure of a State to comply with the State plan or any requirement of this subchapter; and

(B) imposing sanctions under this section.

(c) Request for relief

(1) In general

The Secretary may waive for a period of not more than three years any provision under this subchapter or sanctions imposed upon a State in accordance with subsection (b)(2) upon the State’s request for such a waiver if the Secretary finds that–

(A) the request describes one or more conflicting or duplicative requirements preventing the effective delivery of child care services to justify a waiver, extraordinary circumstances, such as natural disaster or financial crisis, or an extended period of time for a State legislature to enact legislation to implement the provisions of this subchapter;

(B) such circumstances included in the request prevent the State from complying with any statutory or regulatory requirements of this subchapter;

(C) the waiver will, by itself, contribute to or enhance the State’s ability to carry out the purposes of this subchapter; and,1

(D) the waiver will not contribute to inconsistency with the objectives of this law.

(2) Contents

Such request shall be provided to the Secretary in writing and will–

(A) detail each sanction or provision within this subchapter that the State seeks relief from;

(B) describe how a waiver from that sanction or provision of this subchapter will, by itself, improve delivery of child care services for children in the State; and

(C) certify that the health, safety, and well-being of children served through assistance received under this subchapter will not be compromised as a result of the waiver.

(3) Approval

Within 90 days after the receipt of a State’s request under this subsection, the Secretary shall inform the State of approval or disapproval of the request. If the plan is disapproved, the Secretary shall, at this time, inform the State, the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives, and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate of the reasons for the disapproval and give the State the opportunity to amend the request. In the case of approval, the Secretary shall, within 30 days of granting such waiver, notify and submit a report to the Committee on Education and the Workforce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions of the Senate on the circumstances of the waiver including each specific sanction or provision waived, the reason as given by the State of the need for a waiver, and the expected impact of the waiver on children served under this program.

(4) External conditions

The Secretary shall not require or impose any new or additional requirements in exchange for receipt of a waiver if such requirements are not specified in this subchapter.

(5) Duration

The Secretary may approve a request under this subsection for a period not to exceed three years, unless a renewal is granted under paragraph (7).

(6) Termination

The Secretary shall terminate approval of a request for a waiver authorized under this subsection if the Secretary determines, after notice and opportunity for a hearing, that the performance of a State granted relief under this subsection has been inadequate, or if such relief is no longer necessary to achieve its original purposes.

(7) Renewal

The Secretary may approve or disapprove a request from a State for renewal of an existing waiver under this subchapter for a period no longer than one year. A State seeking to renew their waiver approval must inform the Secretary of this intent no later than 30 days prior to the expiration date of the waiver. The State shall re-certify in its extension request the provisions in paragraph (2) of this subchapter, and shall also explain the need for additional time of relief from such sanction(s) or provisions approved under this law as provided in this subchapter.

(8) Restrictions

Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed as providing the Secretary the authority to permit States to alter the eligibility requirements for eligible children, including work requirements, job training, or educational program participation, that apply to the parents of eligible children under this subchapter. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to allow the Secretary to waive anything related to his or her authority under this subchapter.