Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Subsidies
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
Number of recipients
|Number of recipients (families)1||1.0 million families (FY 2005)|
|Number of recipients (children)1||1.7 million children (FY 2005)|
|All eligible families who applied were served2||Not applicable (2007)|
|Total spending (state and federal)3||$9.4 billion (FY 2005)|
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.
- Data reflect the average monthly number served through CCDF (i.e., figures reported by states have been "adjusted" by the Child Care Bureau to reflect the number funded through CCDF only, including through TANF funds transferred into CCDF). Many states provide additional child care subsidies outside of CCDF, through, for example, direct TANF child care spending.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care Bureau, Preliminary estimates "Average Monthly Number of Families and Children Served (FFY 2005)" (ACF-800 and ACF-801 data), 2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed September 25, 2007).
- Note that subsidy eligibility criteria and application policies and procedures vary significantly between states.
Karen Schulman and Helen Blank, State Child Care Assistance Policies 2007: Some Steps Forward, More Progress Needed, National Women's Law Center, September 2007.
- Data reflect CCDF spending only, including spending of TANF funds transferred into CCDF. Many states provide additional child care subsidies outside of CCDF, through, for example, direct TANF child care spending.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care Bureau, "Child Care Expenditures During FFY 2005" (ACF-696 data), 2006, http://www.acf.hhs.gov (accessed September 25, 2007).