How State-level Child Care Development Fund Policies May Shape Access and Utilization among Hispanic Families

Jan 22, 2019
Lisa Gennetian,
Julia L. Mendez,
Zoelene Hill

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is a federal and state partnership that provides financial assistance to low-income families to obtain child care in order to support work or attend training or education programs. A portion of CCDF funds are also set aside to support and improve the quality of child care. CCDF helps fund child care for a monthly average of 1.4 million children under age 13. Use of the program among Hispanic families, however, remains relatively low. The GAO estimates that only 20 percent of the population served by CCDF is Hispanic, although Hispanic children make up an estimated 35 percent of the eligible population.

This research brief draws on a newly developed framework to understand how state policy context may contribute to racial/ethnic disparities in the use of CCDF subsidies—especially the low use by eligible Hispanic families. The research findings featured in this brief stem from an exploratory analysis of state-level variation in policy and practice that may shape access to and utilization of CCDF subsidies among Hispanic families. Specifically, we considered state-level variation in the following policy/practice dimensions that are particularly salient for Hispanic families: eligibility requirements around English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and work hours; household and work documentation requirements; prioritization of Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF) recipients; and the availability of program information and/or application online in Spanish.

We focused our analysis on the 13 states that are home to over 80 percent of all Hispanic children living in low-income households in the United States (households with income under 200 percent of the federal poverty level). To better understand the varying demographics within Hispanic families, we also conducted a complementary review of CCDF policies and practices by the proportion of the Hispanic population in the 13 states that is foreign-born (as citizenship status may affect real or perceived eligibility), and whether the state is host to an emerging or established Hispanic population (as states with established Hispanic communities may be more responsive to eligible Hispanic families).

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Lisa Gennetian
Julia L. Mendez
Zoelene Hill