Child Care Assistance in 2008

Sep 24, 2010

By Hannah Matthews

A recent examination of federal data finds that total federal spending on child care assistance (CCDBG and TANF-related funds) decreased from $13 billion to $12.6 billion in 2008, due to less spending in CCDBG. As a result, the program served 1.6 million children, the smallest number this decade.   

State spending patterns show great variation with 30 states increasing overall spending and 21 states making cuts. Child care cuts and unmet need is of particular concern given the recent data released from the U.S. Census, showing dramatically high poverty rates, particularly for children. 

Child care spending in the TANF program increased for the second consecutive year. Although states do not report to the federal government the number of children served in direct TANF-funded child care, HHS estimates that 2.5 million children received child care assistance through all sources, including CCDBG, TANF, and SSBG in 2008.  Yet, only one in six children who is federally-eligible for assistance receives any help.  

Child care subsidies can help poor families access quality child care that would otherwise be out of their reach and that is so important for their children's healthy development. 

CLASP's new policy brief provides analysis of national and state trends in child care spending. State fact sheets are also available.

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