Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2019

Publication Date: February 22, 2021
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Introduction

Research Questions

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

If a parent works full time and earns $30,000 per year, can the family receive a subsidy to help pay for child care? 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 working families.

This brief serves as a companion piece to the report “Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2019: The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables”, providing a graphical overview of some of the policy differences across States/Territories.

Purpose

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 2019 annual report, 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 2019 include:

  • Twenty-six States/Territories require parents to work a minimum number of hours per week to be eligible for care based on employment, and Montana requires parents to work a minimum number of hours per month.
  • Initial income eligibility thresholds for a family of three range from $1,423 to $5,802 per month.
  • Thirty-four States/Territories require monthly copayments over $100 a month for a three-person family (a single parent with a two-year-old and a four-year-old) earning $30,000 annually. In 10 States/Territories, a three-person family earning $30,000 annually is not eligible for subsidized child care.

Methods

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.

Each year, State/Territory administrators and program staff are asked to review and verify the data in the full report “Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2019.” Some States/Territories were not able to complete the review this year, particularly in light of the review process falling at the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on which States/Territories were able to review the data, see table I.B in the full report.

Citation

Minton, Sarah, Kelly Dwyer, Danielle Kwon, and Kennedy Weisner (2020). Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2019. OPRE Report 2021-06, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Glossary

CCDBG:
Child Care and Development Block Grant
CCDF:
Child Care and Development Fund