ARRA Funds Prevented Larger Decline in Child Care Spending

Jan 06, 2011

By Hannah Matthews

Newly released data from the Office of Child Care show that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have been critical in holding off state cuts to child care programs, despite that total spending on child care assistance (CCDBG and TANF-related funds) declined slightly from $12.6 billion in 2008 to $12.4 billion in 2009.  State spending patterns varied greatly, with 33 states increasing overall spending and 18 states making cuts.

The 2009 expenditures include $260 million in ARRA funds that became available February 2009. Without these funds, state expenditures would likely have declined even further and an additional seven states would have cut spending on child care.  Unfortunately, these funds are now largely spent and states are struggling to keep their programs together in the face of continued budget crises.

Related data on the number of children served in 2009 are not yet available. In 2008, an estimated 2.5 million children received child care assistance through all sources, including CCDBG, TANF and SSBG. If ARRA funds are not retained, this number may fall as 300,000 children may soon lose access to child care and Head Start.

Further detailed analysis of national and state trends in child care spending in 2009, as well as state-specific fact sheets, will be forthcoming from CLASP. Download the u.s. child care assistance factsheet.

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