ACF Releases Guidance on Supplemental Child Care Funds in the American Rescue Plan

June 11, 2021

Today the Office of Child Care (OCC) at HHS’s Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released guidance for states, territories, and tribes on how they can use the nearly $15 billion in supplemental Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funds provided by the Biden-Harris’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) to support children, families, and child care providers.

This guidance comes as many communities are facing child care shortages as families look to return to the work place and the cost of child care places a heavy burden on family wellbeing.  Through this guidance, the Administration encourages states to address these problems by increasing payments to child care providers, which will expand quality options for families and improve wages for the hard-hit early childhood workforce, and will provide child care assistance to more families who lost employment or income during the pandemic.  Currently, only 14% of income eligible children receive child care assistance due to chronic underfunding.

“Child care is critical to our economic recovery,” said JooYeun Chang, ACF’s acting assistant secretary. “This funding provides the resources that states and communities need to ensure that families can find the child care they need and children can attend programs that support healthy development.”

Today’s guidance provides states, territories, and tribes with the information they need to understand the specific requirements included in the ARP Act and to identify opportunities to leverage these resources to build a better child care system and help more families afford child care. The guidance strongly encourages states, territories, and tribes to use this significant investment to increase subsidy payments and compensation for the child care workforce so that child care programs can keep their doors open and families can find care, build the supply of high-quality child care for historically underserved communities, and provide child care assistance to more low- and middle-income families.

 “Even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, chronic underfunding had led to a child care crisis,” said Dr. Ruth Friedman, director of the OCC. “This guidance lays out how states, territories, and tribes can use these flexible funds to increase the availability and affordability of high-quality child care options, especially for families that have faced a job loss or lost wages during the pandemic.  We must address the long-standing child care crisis and rebuild toward a stronger system that allows families equal access to choose high-quality child care that supports children’s development and early learning, meets parents’ employment needs, and supports a professionalized workforce that is fairly and appropriately compensated for the essential skilled work that they do.”

Quick Facts

  • This guidance comes as many communities are facing child care shortages as families look to return to the work place and the cost of child care places a heavy burden on family wellbeing.
  • Through this guidance, the administration encourages states to address these problems by increasing payments to child care providers.
  • Currently, only 14 percent of income eligible children receive child care assistance due to chronic underfunding.

Quotes

“Child care is critical to our economic recovery. This funding provides the resources that states and communities need to ensure that families can find the child care they need and children can attend programs that support healthy development.”
— JooYeun Chang, ACF’s acting assistant secretary.
“Even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, chronic underfunding had led to a child care crisis."
— Dr. Ruth Friedman, director of the OCC
“This guidance lays out how states, territories, and tribes can use these flexible funds to increase the availability and affordability of high-quality child care options, especially for families that have faced a job loss or lost wages during the pandemic."
— Dr. Ruth Friedman, director of the OCC
"We must address the long-standing child care crisis and rebuild toward a stronger system that allows families equal access to choose high-quality child care that supports children’s development and early learning, meets parents’ employment needs, and supports a professionalized workforce that is fairly and appropriately compensated for the essential skilled work that they do.”
— Dr. Ruth Friedman, director of the OCC

Contact

Administration for Children & Families
Office of Communications
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Phone: (202) 401-9215
Fax: (202) 205-9688
Email: media@acf.hhs.gov

ACF Issues: