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Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Subsidies

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Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) subsidies assist low-income families with the cost of child care so that they may work or prepare for employment. Assistance is provided in the form of either a contracted child care slot or a voucher that may be used to access care by any provider that meets state requirements. Families typically pay a monthly co-payment, based on factors such as income, family size, and the number of children in care. The subsidy—typically paid directly to the provider—covers the difference between the co-payment and the full cost of care, up to a maximum state payment rate. CCDF subsidies are not a federal entitlement, meaning that eligible applicants do not necessarily receive subsidies.

The federal government establishes broad requirements for state CCDF programs, including a maximum income eligibility limit of 85 percent of state median income. But states maintain a wide degree of discretion to design their programs and income limits, work requirements, payment rates, family co-payments, and other program rules vary greatly. Annual applicant income limits for a family of three, for example, ranged from $18,216 to $47,200 in 2007.

CCDF subsidies are funded through a combination of state and federal sources. The federal CCDF block grant was created with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, the same legislation that replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). CCDF provides states with an annual base amount as well as matching funds for states that meet their maintenance of effort and matching requirements. States may transfer money into CCDF programs from TANF and other sources. Many states also provide additional child care subsidies outside of their CCDF subsidy programs.

National Participant & Spending Data

Data Notes and Sources

Data on CCDF Subsidies were compiled by NCCP in September 2007. Some state policy decisions may have changed since these data were collected.