Child care is an essential resource for the economic health of our nation and the developmental health and well-being of our children. The importance of child care has become acutely relevant as families across the nation have experienced a reduction or complete loss of child care due to COVID-19. Through the child care provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020 and the recent increases in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) in 2018, states are actively working to allocate resources to support families and child care providers.

Though it is too early to track outcomes due to policy changes made with the 2018 and 2020 CCDBG allocations, some states have begun to use state administrative data to monitor progress as a result of policy changes made with the 2018 CCDBG funding. This brief provides examples of how CCDBG implementation strategies in three states—Georgia, Michigan, and Oklahoma—may lead to improved outcomes for children, families, and providers. Lessons learned can help inform state policymakers’ efforts to improve access to high-quality early care and education (ECE) through CCDBG and improve recovery efforts following the COVID-19 crisis.

Background

Since the early 1990s, CCDBG has aimed to improve access to child care for families with low income whose parents go to work or school.1 CCDBG promotes parental choice and consumer education for parents when they select child care, and includes funds to improve the quality of care and the qualifications of the ECE workforce.

The CCDBG Act of 1990 authorized the appropriation of funds for child care subsidies through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). As a block grant, CCDBG outlines requirements while also allowing states discretion in how they set subsidy policies and use funds.2 In 2014, the first major reauthorization to CCDBG set new requirements focused on ensuring child care health and safety, improving the overall quality of early learning and afterschool programs, providing continuity of access to child care, and promoting consumer education.3

References

1 Congressional Research Service. (2014). The Child Care and Development Block Grant: Background and Funding. Retrieved from https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/RL30785.html

2 Tran, V., Minton, S., Haldar, S., & Giannarelli, L. (2018). Child Care Subsidies under the CCDF Program: An Overview of Policy Differences across States and Territories as of October 1, 2016. OPRE Report 2018-02, Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/ccdfdatabase
2016policysummary_b508.pdf

3 Office of Child Care. (2014). Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) of 2014: Plain Language Summary of Statutory Changes. Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/ccdbg-of-2014-plain-language-summary-of-statutory-changes

4 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning & Evaluation. (2019). Factsheet: Estimates of Child Care Eligibility & Receipt for Fiscal Year 2015. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/system/files/pdf/260361/CY2015ChildCare
SubsidyEligibility.pdf

5 Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, Pub. L. 115-141, 132 Stat. 728. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1625/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22appropriations+2018%22%
5D%7D&r=30&s=1

6 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, Pub. L. 116-93, 133 Stat. 2317. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr1865/BILLS-116hr1865eah.pdf

7 Office of Child Care. (2018). Information Memorandum: Increase in Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Discretionary Funds in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (Public Law 115-141). Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/occ/ccdf_acf_im_
2018_03.pdf

8 Office of Child Care. (2020). Summary of Child Care Provisions of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES Act.” Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/summary-of-child-care-provisions-of-cares-act

9 Office of Child Care. (2020). Information about COVID-19 for CCDF Lead Agencies: Relevant Flexibilities in CCDF Law. Administration for Children & Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.acf.hhs.gov/occ/resource/info-about-covid-19-for-ccdf-lead-agencies-relevant-flexibilities-in-ccdf-law

10 Bedrick, E. & Daily, S. (2020). States are Using the Cares Act to Improve Child Care Access during COVID-19. Bethesda, MD: Child Trends. Retrieved from https://www.childtrends.org/publications/states-are-using-the-cares-act-to-improve-child-care-access-during-covid-19