This four-year project is a partnership between Child Trends and the Maryland State Department of Education’s (MSDE) Division of Early Childhood. The latter 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. The goal of this project is to understand how Maryland’s CCDF policies, regulations, and recent initiatives enacted since the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014 have affected subsidy-eligible families’ equitable access to high-quality care in Maryland. The project will examine longitudinal outcomes for Maryland’s child care market, providers, families, and children, and will focus on the following Maryland policies, regulations, and initiatives:

  1. Increased income eligibility thresholds for families to receive child care scholarships through the Child Care Subsidy (CCS) Program
  2. Increased reimbursement rates for providers serving children with a child care scholarship
  3. Required provider participation in Maryland EXCELS if they serve 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)
  5. More stringent health and safety regulations for home-based providers

Collectively, these policy levers aim to increase the number of families receiving subsidies and incentivize providers to participate in the subsidy program and increase their quality. However, some of these policies (e.g., more stringent health and safety regulations) may have unintended consequences. For example, they may reduce the supply of licensed family child care providers in the child care market or limit the availability of non-standard hours of care, which may, in turn, limit access to care that meets families’ needs.


Child Care Utilization in Maryland During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Child Care Continuity and Costs in Maryland During the COVID-19 Pandemic




Principal Investigator: Tamara Halle

Project Director: Rebecca Madill

Deputy Project Director: Nadia Orfali Hall