Maryland Child Care Policy Research Partnership

Early ChildhoodSep 30 2019

Last Updated: March 27, 2024

Child Trends and the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) Division of Early Childhood are partnering through 2026 on a series of federally funded research grants. MSDE is the Lead Agency administering Maryland’s Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program and the state’s quality rating and improvement system (QRIS), Maryland EXCELS (Excellence Counts in Early Learning and School Age Care).

Effects of CCDF Policies and State Investments on Equitable Access to High Quality Subsidized Care in Maryland (Grant #90YE0220, awarded in 2019 for FY 2020-2023)

The goal of this project was to understand how Maryland’s CCDF policies, regulations, and recent initiatives enacted since the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 affected subsidy-eligible families’ equitable access to high-quality care in Maryland. The project examines longitudinal outcomes for Maryland’s child care market, providers, families, and children, focusing on the following Maryland policies, regulations, and initiatives:

  1. Increased income eligibility thresholds for families to receive child care scholarships funded through the CCDF child care subsidy program.
  2. Increased reimbursement rates for providers serving children with a child care scholarship
  3. Required provider participation in Maryland EXCELS in order to be reimbursed for serving children with a child care scholarship
  4. One-time bonuses for initial Maryland EXCELS rating publication and annual bonuses for maintaining the highest rating (level 5)

Collectively, these policy levers aimed to increase the number of families receiving subsidies and incentivize providers to participate in the subsidy program and increase their quality. This project also responded to the immediate needs of MSDE by examining shifts in parents’ child care needs and utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Understanding the Supply and Demand for Child Care in Maryland During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Grant #90YE0288, awarded in 2022 for FY 2023-2026)

The goal of this project is to understand how the supply of and demand for early care and education (ECE) shifted in Maryland during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the ways in which stabilization grants and changes to Maryland’s CCDF policies—resulting from federal and state COVID-19 relief funds—impacted pandemic-era supply and demand for care. The project is also exploring the degree to which the distribution of stabilization grants was equitable, given MSDE’s strategies to equitably allocate the funds—such as using the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI).

The project focuses on the impact of the following MD policies and initiatives:

  1. Four rounds of stabilization grants for licensed providers.
  2. Increased income eligibility thresholds for families to receive child care scholarships.
  3. Increased reimbursement rates for providers serving children with scholarships.
  4. Reduced family copayments for families receiving scholarships.
  5. Presumptive eligibility for families applying for scholarships.
  6. Automatic redetermination for families receiving scholarships.

Collectively, these policies and initiatives aim to stabilize the child care sector in Maryland by supporting the supply of ECE through financial supports and expanding access for Maryland families to receive and retain child care scholarships.


The following publications were generated as part of the first grant (#90YE0220; FY 2020-2023): Effects of CCDF Policies and State Investments on Equitable Access to High Quality Subsidized Care in Maryland.

COVID-19 Pandemic Experiences

Maryland Family Child Care (FCC) Decline

Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating System

Maryland Child Care Scholarships (Subsidies)

MD CCPRP FY 2020-23 Methods Appendix


Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE)


MD state department of education logo

Project Staff

Role Equitable Access Grant (#90YE0220; FY 2020-2023) COVID Supply & Demand Grant (#90YE0288; FY 2023-2026)
Principal Investigators Tamara Halle & Rebecca Madill Patti Banghart & Rebecca Madill
Project Director Kristen Darling Kristen Darling
Deputy Project Director Alex Verhoye
Project Manager Alex Verhoye Sage Caballero
Task Leads Patti Banghart, Jing Tang, Bonnie Solomon, Isabel Griffith, Ilana Huz Emily Maxfield, Bonnie Solomon, Ying-Chun Lin
Additional Analysis & Product Development Team Members Sara Amadon, Emily Maxfield, Ying-Chun Lin, Kara Ulmen, Maggie Haas, Sarah Kelley, Theresa Sexton, Kajol Sarani, Cassie Simons Gerson, Sage Caballero Alex VerhoyeJames Fuller, , Kara Ulmen, Sarah Kelley, Isabel Griffith
Senior Advisors Nicole ForryLiz Davis (UMN) Nicole ForryLiz Davis (UMN)