Characteristics of Families Served by Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Based on Preliminary FY 2011 Data
Child care subsidies help low-income families with children under age 13 pay for child care so that parents can work or participate in training or education activities. Parents typically receive subsidies in the form of vouchers that they can use with a provider of their choice–whether a relative, neighbor, child care center, or after-school program. States have a great deal of flexibility to establish child care subsidy policies to meet their needs. Thus, national data on the characteristics of families served masks a large degree of variation across individual States.
- Number served. Approximately 1.6 million children and 969,100 families per month received child care assistance in FY 2011. An estimated 2.4 million children were served when additional funding sources are considered [i.e., CCDF, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) direct spending on child care, the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), and excess TANF Maintenance of Effort (MOE) child care expenditures].
- Income level. Of the families served in FY 2011, 50 percent were below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), or $18,530 for a family of three. Twenty-five percent had incomes between 100 and 150 percent of the FPL, and 13 percent had incomes above 150 percent of FPL. The remaining families had invalid or unreported data or a child as head of household.
- TANF status. Nationally, TANF was reported as a source of income for approximately 18 percent of families in FY 2011. Most States give families currently receiving, at-risk of receiving, or transitioning off TANF, first priority for child care assistance.
Ages. Subsidies help pay for care for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, as well as school-aged children. For children receiving CCDF subsidies in FY 2011:
- 33 percent were school-aged (6 years & older)
- 10 percent were kindergarten-aged (age 5 years)
- 29 percent were preschoolers (3 & 4 years old)
- 28 percent were infants and toddlers (younger than 3 years old)
Settings – Type of Care. Because the subsidy program emphasizes parental choice, children are cared for in a wide variety of settings. Nationally, in FY 2011:
- 67 percent of children receiving subsidies were cared for in a child care center
- 22 percent were in family child care homes
- 5 percent were in the child’s own home
- 6 percent were in a group home
- 1 percent invalid / not reported data
Settings – Regulation Status. Nationally, in FY 2011:
- 81 percent of children receiving subsidies were cared for in regulated settings,
- 18 percent were settings legally operating without regulation. Of those,
- 60 percent were served by relatives in child, family, and group homes; and
- 40 percent were served by non-relatives in child, family, and group homes
- Family Copayments. Of those families with reported income in FY 2011, approximately 74 percent paid a copayment. Excluding families with no copayments, child care copayments averaged six percent of family income. Approximately half of the States and Territories (27 in FY 2011) served families where the average assessed family copayment was five percent or less of family income.
- Reasons for Care. In FY 2011, 95 percent of families cited either employment or education and training as the reason for needing child care. Another five percent cited protective services as reasons for care.
Providers Receiving CCDF Funds. Nationally, in FY 2011, 513,550 child care providers served children receiving CCDF subsidies:
18 percent (91,129) of providers receiving CCDF funds were child care centers; and
82 percent (422,421) of providers receiving CCDF funds were home-based providers.
Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.