Knowledge Center

Center on the States

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Child Care and Development Fund

The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), including the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), is a Federal funding stream administered by states used to provide child care subsidies to low-income working families.


The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) assists low-income families with child-care costs so that they can work or prepare to work. With the average fee for full-time care ranging from approximately $3,700 to $16,400 a year - depending on where the family lives, the type of care, and the age of the child - child care costs can be exorbitant and often unmanageable for lower income families. Child care assistance can help families, who typically pay a co-payment based on their income level, with subsidies to help cover the remainder of their child care costs up to a state-determined maximum rate. In 2012, 1.51 million children received child care assistance.

The Federal Government provides funding for the CCDF primarily through the CCDBG, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and other sources with States providing maintenance of effort and matching funds. Unlike Head Start, states retain a significant level of discretion to design, implement, and monitor their child care programs. This has led to substantial differences in quality of care across and even within states. In 2014, a reauthorization of the CCDBG was enacted intending to modernize child care and address some of these concerns over uneven quality.

How CCDF Relates to Head Start

Child care and Head Start work closely to meet the needs of families in states and communities across the country. Head Start families are frequently also eligible, or become eligible, for child care subsidies and child care subsidies often are used to provide additional hours of care for children to allow their families to work. This is especially important for working families with children in part day Head Start programming. Using CCDF, states also set policies, such as licensing requirements and Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, that impact Head Start programs and their partners.

View the resources below for more information on how Head Start and child care can work together​

Early Head Start Child Care Partnerships

Partnerships between Head Start/Early Head Start and child care have successfully existed for decades. Recognizing this, in 2013 President Obama included Early Head Start-Child Care (EHS-CC) partnerships as a linchpin to his early learning plan. In January 2014, Congress included $500 million for the expansion of EHS and the creation of EHS-CC partnerships in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014. Find the list of winners of the expansion and partnership grants here.

To support the development of the expansion and partnership grants and the new grantees, NHSA convened a group of noteworthy national, state, and local child care and Head Start leaders throughout 2014. Find more about the work of NHSA’s EHS-CC Partnership Project.


Child Care Policy Trends and Data:

  • The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) releases an annual report outlining trends and policies nationally and in each State. Download the full Turning the Corner: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2014 report. The NWLC report also includes State by State Data.
  • Child Care Aware has State factsheets with information about the use, supply, and cost of child care as well as the child care workforce. Find the report and factsheets here.
  • Committee for Economic Development released a report that examines the child care industry's effect on partents' participation in the labor force and the industry's state econoimc impact. Find the report, executive summary, and national overview.

Child Care Subsidies:

  • For more information on Child Care subsidies and state by state fact sheets, visit the Center for Law And Social Policy (CLASP) website.

Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Reauthorization:

The CCDBG reauthorization passed Congress and was signed into law in 2014. The reauthorized Act included significant quality improvements and was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.The Office of Child Care, working with States, began implementing the changes to the Act in early 2015.