Initial Implementation of the 2014 Reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant

Publication Date: January 20, 2021
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Introduction

Research Questions

  1. What are family and provider experiences with the child care subsidy system prior to and after reauthorization?
  2. How and when did states implement key policy changes outlined by reauthorization?
  3. What are the experiences of child care stakeholders in implementing key policy changes outlined by reauthorization?

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014, which governs the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, outlined several policy changes for states and territories across multiple aspects of the CCDF program, including health and safety, monitoring, consumer information, family-friendly subsidy administration, support for early care and education (ECE) providers, and supply-building and quality improvement for special populations (e.g., infants and toddlers).

This paper 1) provides an overview of the existing literature on provider and family experiences with the child care market and subsidy system, 2) summarizes an analysis of state policies and approaches to implementing CCDF policy changes, and 3) reports on themes discussed at a roundtable convening of key child care stakeholders held in July, 2019.

Purpose

This paper summarizes the initial changes states and territories made in response to policies outlined by the CCDBG reauthorization. The paper describes findings from a literature scan, an analysis of policy changes using a variety of data sources, and a roundtable discussion with child care stakeholders. Researchers, policymakers, program leaders, families, and providers may find the information useful when thinking about the effects of these policy changes on family and provider experiences with the subsidy system.

Key Findings and Highlights

The scan of literature on family and provider experiences with the subsidy system suggested that some families receiving child care subsidies lacked access to stable, high-quality child care options prior to reauthorization. Child care providers found it challenging to participate in the subsidy system and sustain quality improvement efforts due to payment issues (e.g., low reimbursement rates, delays in receiving payment). Because this literature scan was conducted shortly after reauthorization implementation, there was limited research about family and provider experiences after states and territories made policy changes in response to reauthorization.

The analysis of policy changes and the discussion with child care stakeholders showed that states have made substantial changes in response to CCDF reauthorization, although the approach and type of changes made differed among states. The analysis suggests that states implemented some policies sooner than others, and none of the states were implementing all of the policies required by reauthorization by the time states submitted their 2019-2021 CCDF Plans.

Methods

The team conducted three activities for this project. First, we scanned the literature published prior to and after reauthorization to identify family and provider experiences with the child care subsidy system. Second, we analyzed data from the 2014-2017 CCDF Policies Database; CCDF Plans from 2014-2015, 2016-2018, and 2019-2021; Child Care Licensing Study in 2014 and 2017; and gathered supplemental information from the Office of Child Care. Third, we convened a group of child care stakeholders for a roundtable discussion to provide context and help interpret the findings from the analysis of policy changes.

Considerations

Child care stakeholders at the roundtable meeting noting several considerations regarding implementation of CCDBG reauthorization:

  • State agencies and child care providers face increased workforce challenges (for licensing staff, qualified teachers/caregivers, etc.).
  • Subsidy reimbursement rate policies help shape the supply of child care and the options available to low-income families receiving subsidies.
  • Additional data are needed to understand how policies are implemented and to learn about the effects of policy changes on families’ experiences with the child care system because of discrepancies between policy and on-the-ground practice.
  • Reauthorization does not affect all families or providers equally, and additional support may be needed to serve families with special needs, those choosing care options that are not center-based, and those with school-aged children.
  • It will be necessary to examine data over time to understand implementation and its effects.

Citation

Lin, V., Maxwell, K., Daily, S., & Stepleton, K. (2020). Initial Implementation of the 2014 Reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant, OPRE Report #2020-111, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Glossary

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