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- What are the eligibility requirements for families and children?
- What must families do to initially receive assistance and to continue receiving assistance?
- How much do families have to pay out of pocket for the child care they receive?
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides federal money to States, Territories, and Tribes to subsidize the cost of child care for lower-income families. Detailed policies vary widely across jurisdictions, with States/Territories/Tribes establishing different policies for:
- Eligibility requirements for families and children
- Application, waiting list, and redetermination requirements
- Family copayment policies
- Provider requirements and reimbursement rates
Whether families are eligible for child care assistance and how much assistance they receive depends in large part on the policies set by each jurisdiction. This report describes the ways in which policies vary within the context of the federal program requirements, and includes dozens of detailed tables showing each State’s/Territory’s policy choices.
The CCDF Policies Database project produces a comprehensive, up-to-date database of CCDF policies for the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories and outlying areas.The Database contains hundreds of variables designed to capture CCDF policies across time, allowing users to access policy information for a specific point in time as well as to see how and when policies change over time. The Database is funded by the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE) and maintained by the Urban Institute.
Key Findings and Highlights
Highlights from 2016 policies include:
- Twenty-six States/Territories require that parents work a minimum number of hours to be eligible for care based on work. In the other States/Territories, parents must still participate in employment or other approved activities, but the States/Territories do not require parents to work a minimum number of hours to qualify for assistance.
- Among the 50 States and the District of Columbia, the maximum income that a family of three can have and become newly eligible for assistance ranges from $1,423 per month in Puerto Rico to $5,040 per month in Vermont.
- Across the States/Territories, copayments for a single parent with two children and $15,000 in annual earnings range from $0 to $414 per month. The median copayment for a family with those characteristics is $53.50 per month.
Highlights of policy changes from 2012 to 2016 include:
- All but 10 States/Territories made changes to the maximum income that a family of three can have and become or remain eligible for assistance from 2012 to 2016, with five States lowering their thresholds over time and the rest increasing the income thresholds.
- Sixteen States/Territories made changes to their policies regarding eligibility during periods of job search, with most of the changes occurring between 2015 and 2016.
- Twenty-nine States/Territories made changes to their redetermination periods between 2012 and 2016, with most of the changes occurring between 2015 and 2016 when several states extended their redetermination periods from 6 to 12 months.
The information in the Database, and thus the information in the tables, is based primarily on the documents that caseworkers use as they work with families and providers (often termed “caseworker manuals”). The initial set of manuals coded for the Database reflected policies in effect on or before October 1, 2009. Ongoing policy updates have been collected since that point to capture policy changes when they occur in each State/Territory.
Each year, the project produces a set of tables containing selected policies from the Database. (The full Database detail is also made available for public use.) The tables are then reviewed by State/Territory administrators and verified for accuracy. The final tables are included in an annual report, with the current report showing the policies in effect on October 1, 2016.
Minton, Sarah, Lorraine Blatt, Victoria Tran, Kathryn Stevens, and Linda Giannarelli (2017). The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables: Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2016, OPRE Report 2017-105, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
- Child Care and Development Fund
- Child Care and Development Block Grant