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- Published: 2021
- What are the eligibility requirements for families and children, and 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?
- What are the requirements for child care providers, and how much are they reimbursed for care?
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides federal money to States, Territories, and Tribes to subsidize the cost of child care for low-income working families. Detailed policies vary widely across jurisdictions, with States, Territories, and 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 five 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 2019 policies include:
- The maximum income that a family of three can have and become newly eligible for assistance ranges from $1,423 to $5,802 per month.
- A majority of the States/Territories require the parent to pay the regular copayment for days when the child care provider is closed. Five States/Territories do not require parents to pay a copayment for days the provider is closed, while three States require parents to pay the entire price of care.
- Across the States/Territories, copayments for a single parent with two children in care and $15,000 in annual earnings range from $0 to $446 per month. The median copayment for a family with those characteristics is $31 per month.
Highlights of policy changes from 2015 to 2019 include:
- Twenty-seven States/Territories made changes to their policies regarding eligibility during periods of job search, with most of the changes occurring between 2016 and 2017.
- Thirty States/Territories made changes to their redetermination periods between 2015 and 2019, with most of the changes occurring between 2015 and 2016 when several States/Territories extended their redetermination periods from 6 to 12 months.
- Twenty-four States/Territories changed the monthly copayment amounts for a family of three earning $15,000 between 2015 and 2019. Most of these changes were reductions in the copayment amounts.
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 tables are then reviewed by State/Territory administrators and verified for accuracy. (Because verification of this year’s tables took place in the spring of 2020, when many State/Territory administrators were focused on emergency needs in their States/Territories resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer States/Territories are considered “fully verified” than in previous years.) The final tables are included in an annual report, with the current report showing the policies in effect on October 1, 2019. The full database containing all of the variables and longitudinal details is also made available for public use at https://ccdf.urban.org Visit disclaimer page .
Dwyer, Kelly, Sarah Minton, Danielle Kwon, and Kennedy Weisner (2020). Key Cross-State Variations in CCDF Policies as of October 1, 2019: The CCDF Policies Database Book of Tables. OPRE Report 2021-07, 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