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ARCHIVED - Flexibility in Spending CCDF Funds in Response to Federal or State Declared Emergency Situations

Information Memorandum: ACYF-IM-CC-05-03

Published: September 6, 2005
Program Administration
Archived Guidance, Emergency & Disaster Preparedness, Program Integrity, States/Territories
Information Memoranda

UPDATE: A final rule based on the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 was published on September 30, 2016. See 45 CFR 98.16(aa) and 98.41(a)(1)(vii) for provisions related to emergency preparedness and response.


State and Territorial Lead Agencies administering child care programs under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 (the CCDBG Act), as amended, and other interested parties.


Flexibility in Spending Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Funds in Response to Federal or State Declared Emergency Situations


The CCDBG Act; section 418 of the Social Security Act; 45 CFR Parts 98 and 99; 63 FR 39936-39998


To provide guidance on the use of (CCDF) funds in responding to Federal or State declared emergency situations.


September 6, 2005


States have broad flexibility to operate the CCDF program within some general Federal requirements. Since funds are awarded to States on a formula basis, there are no CCDF funds available for distribution in the event of a Federal or State declared emergency. However, the Federal CCDF statute and rules may provide States affected by such emergency situations with options to continue providing child care services despite disruptions to families and providers. Some of these options (described below) would require the State to submit a CCDF State Plan amendment to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Under 45 CFR 98.18(b), the State has up to 60 days after the effective date of a change to submit a plan amendment. Therefore, States desiring to take advantage of options afforded by CCDF statute and regulations may act immediately.

We note that these options for using CCDF funds are not limited only to States and Territories directly affected by emergencies, but are also available to States and Territories coming to the aid of other States and Territories affected by emergencies.


The following is a list of options available to States and Territories for using CCDF funds to respond to Federal or State declared emergency situations. This list is not exhaustive. States and Territories are encouraged to consult with their Regional Offices concerning other options that may be available in emergency situations.

Option A: Use quality dollars to provide immediate assistance to displaced families.
Section 658G of the CCDBG Act directs States to spend at least four percent of CCDF funds on quality activities, including “activities designed to improve the quality and availability of child care.” In the short-term, CCDF quality dollars may be used to provide emergency child care to displaced families, particularly in areas where existing child care facilities are not operating or have been rendered unsafe.

Option B: Change the State’s eligibility or priority criteria to permit uninterrupted child care.
The State can examine its eligibility conditions or priority rules and broaden them if necessary.

  • Under 45 CFR 98.16 and 98.20, States have flexibility to define “working” to include families seeking employment, participating in community service, or a similar activity.
  • States are free to add additional eligibility conditions or priority rules, as a method of targeting their programs, as long as the Federal eligibility criteria at 45 CFR 98.20 are met [e.g., family income is under the income limit, parent(s) are working (as defined by the State) or are in a training or education program] and the additional conditions or rules do not discriminate, limit parental rights, or violate 45 CFR 98.44 or the State Plan. “Homelessness”, for example, could be added as a condition for receiving higher priority for child care services.
  • State discretion could result in different eligibility conditions or priority rules in effect in different parts of the State (e.g., to target resources to areas most affected by a Federal or State declared emergency). There is no “statewideness” requirement for eligibility or priority criteria in the law.

Option C: Broaden the State’s definition of protective services to permit emergency eligibility.
States have the option to waive the income eligibility requirements for children who receive or need to receive protective services if determined to be necessary on a case-by-case basis. Furthermore, a child in a family that is receiving, or needs to receive, protective intervention is eligible for child care subsidies even if the parent is not working or in education or training. Therefore, children affected by a Federal or State declared emergency could be deemed to be in need of protective services and therefore, the eligibility requirements (income threshold, work/training requirement) could be waived. These provisions, at State option, could also apply to children in foster care.

Option D: Examine the State’s income eligibility threshold and what the State counts as income.
The State has the flexibility to define income and to set the income threshold for purposes of CCDF eligibility. For example, the State could exclude disaster relief or other forms of temporary assistance from counting as income.

Option E: Use quality dollars to provide supply-building grants to providers.
The State could use existing quality improvement dollars to provide supply-building grants to providers—perhaps targeting providers that experience a disruption in subsidy receipt due to an emergency. This could provide ongoing financial assistance for child care providers while they are rebuilding. In addition, as noted below, some child care funds may be able to be used for minor repair or remodeling, particularly if necessary to meet applicable standards for healthy and safety.

Section 658F(b) of the CCDBG Act specifies that CCDF funds cannot be expended for the purchase or improvement of land, or for the purchase, construction, or permanent improvement (other than minor remodeling) of any building or facility. However, the implementing Federal regulations (at 45 CFR 98.2 and 98.54) provide additional guidance regarding the use of CCDF funds for renovation. Specifically, CCDF funds cannot be used for major renovation, but can be used for minor remodeling, and for upgrading child care facilities to assure that providers meet State and local child care standards, including applicable health and safety standards. Major renovation is defined as: (1) structural changes to the foundation, roof, floor, exterior or load-bearing walls of a facility, or the extension of a facility to increase its floor area; or (2) extensive alteration of a facility such as to significantly change its function and purpose, even if such renovation does not include any structural change. Any improvement or upgrade to a facility which is not specified under this definition of major renovation may be considered a minor renovation and may be allowable under applicable regulations and cost principles. For sectarian agencies and organizations, in addition to the requirements described above, funds may be expended for minor remodeling only if necessary to bring the facility into compliance with health and safety requirements.

Option F: Increase resources available for child care, for example by using Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars.
States have the flexibility to transfer a portion of TANF dollars to CCDF, or to use TANF funds directly for child care. Some child care businesses may also be eligible for assistance made available through Federal emergency relief.

Option G: Encourage States and Regional Offices to utilize services from the Child Care Technical Assistance Network (CCTAN).
States can tap into the resources of the CCTAN:

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL)
Telephone: ( 217) 333-0260
Internet: www.csefel.uiuc.edu
The goals of the Center are designed to strengthen the capacity of Child Care and Head Start to improve the social and emotional outcomes for young children. CSEFEL staff could be deployed to assist with mental health services for affected families.

Child Care Aware
Telephone: (800) 424-2246
E-mail: Info@childcareaware.org
Internet: http://www.childcareaware.org/
The mission of Child Care Aware is to ensure that families have access to accurate, useful information about finding child care. Through Child Care Aware, families are linked to their local, community-based child care resource and referral program, and consumer education materials.

Healthy Child Care America
Telephone: (888) 227-5409
E-mail: childcare@aap.org
Internet: http://www.healthychildcare.org/
Healthy Child Care America provides and coordinates the delivery of technical assistance to assist States, territories, tribes, and communities in developing and strengthening linkages between child care providers, health professionals, and families. These partnerships ensure that children are cared for in healthy and nurturing environments and have access to necessary immunizations, health screenings, and other health and social services. Health consultants are available in States to provide technical assistance.

National Child Care Information Center (NCCIC)
Telephone: (800) 616-2242
Internet: INACTIVE
A network of State technical assistance specialists, working with the ACF regional offices, provides onsite consulting support to State grantees.

National Center on Tribal Child Care Implementation and Innovation (NTC)
Telephone:(800) 388-7670
E-mail: NTC@cditeam.org
Internet: childcareta.acf.hhs.gov/national-tribal-center
The National Center on Tribal Child Care Implementation and Innovation supports Tribal communities in their efforts to coordinate early childhood and school-age care delivery by promoting improvements in child care delivery systems. Targeted TA services support more than 539 federally-recognized Tribes, either directly or through Tribal consortia. These TA activities include a toll-free information and referral line, a peer learning and leadership network, an annual Tribal CCDF administrators training event, Regional TA events, specialized trainings, consultations with program administrators, and the promotion of Tribal-State collaboration and linkages between States, Tribes, and local early childhood and school-age care education programs. Distance-learning technologies, including webinars, enhance TA support options.



Additional questions should be directed to your ACF Regional Office. (See attached list of ACF Regional Administrators.)

Joan E. Ohl
Administration on Children,
Youth and Families


Last Reviewed: December 11, 2017