What We Do

The Office of Child Care (OCC) supports low-income working families by improving access to affordable, high-quality early care and afterschool programs. OCC administers the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)—a block grant to state, territory and tribal governments that provides support for children and their families with paying for child care that will fit their needs and that will prepare children to succeed in school.

CCDF also improves the quality of care to promote children’s healthy development and learning by supporting child care licensing, quality improvement systems to help programs meet higher standards, and training and education for child care workers. We establish and oversee the implementation of child care policies and provide guidance and technical assistance to states, territories and tribes as they administer CCDF programs.

Child Care and Development Fund

The Child Care and Development Fund is a multibillion-dollar federal and state partnership, administered at the Federal level by OCC, to promote family economic self-sufficiency and to help children succeed in school and life through affordable, high-quality early care and afterschool programs. Read the CCDF Fact Sheet.

Who Benefits from CCDF-Funded Child Care Programs

Children from birth through age 12 in vulnerable families have access, through CCDF, to child care settings that meet their needs, from full-day early care to afterschool care for school-age children. All children in child care benefit from CCDF investments to help programs meet higher standards and improve the quality of teachers.

Parents in eligible low-income families receive help paying for child care at a participating provider of their choice. Parents also may receive consumer education on such topics as what to look for in a quality child care provider. All parents with children in child care benefit from CCDF quality investments and from the peace of mind that comes from knowing CCDF funds are being used to improve child care facilities all over the country.

Child care providers receive reimbursement for serving low-income families and can draw on networks of training and technical assistance resources to help them provide high-quality child care services. Many states, territories, and tribes are committed to building a well-trained, fairly compensated, cohesive child care workforce with jobs built on intentional training and education.

States, territories and tribes administer CCDF and use it to leverage additional early education investments to serve their children and families. States, territories and tribes receive technical assistance from OCC and use our research to guide their policy and programmatic decisions. Learn more about Tribal CCDF.

Promoting Quality Child Care

States and territories are required to spend a portion of their CCDF allocation on quality activities, as well as specifically on activities to improve the quality and supply of services for infants and toddlers.  States, territories and tribes use CCDF dollars to fund a variety of innovative efforts to improve the quality of care. Quality activities include provider staff training, grants and loans to providers, health and safety improvements, the monitoring of licensing requirements and other initiatives.

Last Reviewed: June 23, 2020