Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2018

Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Cover of "Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program October 2018" policy summary.

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Research Questions

  1. How do CCDF policies vary across States and Territories?

If a child’s parents both work full-time and together earn $30,000 per year, can the family receive a subsidy to help pay for child care? What if one of the parents loses their job and needs child care while they look for a new job? If the family does qualify for a subsidy, how much will they have to pay out of pocket? The answers to these questions depend on a family’s exact circumstances, including:

  • the ages of the children
  • the number of people in the family
  • income
  • where they live

Child care subsidies are provided through a federal block grant program called the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). CCDF provides funding to the States, Territories, and Tribes. They use the money to administer child care subsidy programs for low-income families.

This brief provides a graphical overview of some of the CCDF policy differences across States/Territories. It includes information about eligibility requirements, family application and terms of authorization, family payments, and policies for providers.


The CCDF Policies Database tracks State/Territory CCDF policies over time, with hundreds of variables tracking policies related to family eligibility, application and waiting list procedures, family copayments, provider reimbursement rates, and other provider policies. This brief serves as a companion piece to the project’s 2018 annual report (the 2018 Book of Tables), providing selected information about State and Territory policy differences using maps and charts.

Key Findings and Highlights

Key findings for State and Territory CCDF policies in 2018 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.
  • 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 $5,195 per month in Vermont.
  • Monthly base reimbursement rate amounts for toddler care in licensed child care centers range from $180 in American Samoa to $1,505 in Virginia. The average monthly base rate for toddlers in licensed center care is $723, and the median monthly base rate is $638.


The data in this brief are taken from the CCDF Policies Database, a longitudinal database of State and Territory CCDF policies.  Data are collected primarily from the caseworker manuals and documents used to administer the CCDF program in each State and Territory.  State/Territory administrators are also asked to review a subset of the policies annually to ensure accuracy of the data collection and coding.


Dwyer, Kelly, Victoria Tran, and Sarah Minton (2019). Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2018. OPRE Report 2019-116, 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 Block Grant
Child Care and Development Fund
Last Reviewed Date: