TANF Child Care Spending in 2011

Jun 04, 2012

By Stephanie Schmit

After a sharp fall in 2010, federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds used for child care assistance increased slightly from $2.8 billion to $2.9 billion in 2011, an increase of $121 million. This level is still far below the $3.5 billion used for child care in 2009, according to new data released by the Administration for Children and Families. States do not report on the number of children served in TANF-funded child care; however, growing waiting lists and cuts to child care assistance programs in states across the country suggest that many families still are not receiving the help they need to go to work and provide for their families.

States choose to use TANF funds to provide child care assistance to families and may do so by spending TANF funds directly on child care or by transferring funds to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Between 2010 and 2011, TANF funds spent directly on child care decreased slightly from $1.43 billion to $1.35 billion. States may choose to transfer up to 30 percent of their annual TANF block grant to CCDBG or to a combination of CCDBG and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). TANF transfers to CCDBG increased by $193 million from $1.4 billion in 2010 to $1.6 billion in 2011.

Seven states transferred the maximum amount of funds to a combination of CCDBG and SSBG: Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Washington.  Ten additional states transferred between 25 and 30 percent of their TANF funds: Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

States are required to spend state dollars through a TANF maintenance-of-effort (MOE) requirement. State 2011 MOE spending on child care remained relatively consistent with 2010 spending at $2.6 billion. A portion of TANF MOE funds spent on child care may also be directed toward states' CCDBG MOE requirement. The Administration for Children and Families has not yet released FY 2011 expenditure data for CCDBG, so it is not possible to determine total child care spending (CCDBG and TANF combined) for 2011. According to CLASP analysis, total child care spending in 2010 was $12.6 billion, a year which included additional available dollars due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. State child care assistance factsheets for 2010 are available on CLASP's website. State-by-state tables analyzing TANF and MOE spending in 2011 are available from ACF.

Although funding for child care assistance through TANF increased in 2011, the TANF block grant overall saw a decline in funding, leading many states to make tough choices. For a further discussion of  this recent data on TANF funds in 2011, see CLASP's In Focus TANF Funding Cuts Result in Less Assistance to Poor Families >>



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