Priorities Report: 2019

Publication Date: November 26, 2019



The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program help low-income families with children under the age of 13 pay for child care services. CCDF is a block grant program administered by states, territories, and tribes that provides child care subsidies through vouchers or certificates to low-income families, and grants and contracts with providers in some states. CCDF supports access to child care services for low-income families, so parents can work, attend school, or enroll in training. Additionally, CCDF promotes the healthy development of children by improving the quality of early learning and afterschool experiences for both subsidized and unsubsidized children. Within the federal regulations, state lead agencies decide how to administer the CCDF subsidy programs. States determine payment rates for child care providers, copayment amounts for families, specific eligibility requirements, and have some flexibilities on how to prioritize CCDF services. CCDF administrative data, including monthly case-level data reported on the ACF-801, provides information about the characteristics (including income) of families receiving a child care subsidy. Fiscal year 2017 ACF-801 CCDF administrative data (most recent year available) indicates that approximately 1.32 million children and 796,000 families per month received CCDF child care assistance in fiscal year 2017. The CCDF subsidy program emphasizes parental choice; therefore, children are cared for in a wide variety of settings. Nationally, in fiscal year 2017: (1) 75 percent of children receiving subsidies were cared for in center-based care; (2) 21 percent of children receiving CCDF assistance were cared for in family child care homes; (3) 3 percent of children were cared for in the child’s own home; and (4) the data was not reported or was invalid for the remaining 1 percent. For many parents, affordable child care and school-age care are critical to maintaining stable jobs. According to an analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data, in 2018, at least one parent was employed in 91 percent of families with children under the age of 18, and 72 percent of women with children were working or looking for work1.

1 Table 4. Families with own children: Employment status of parents by age of youngest child and family type, 2017-2018 annual averages.  


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