Child Care Subsidies

Child care subsidies make quality child care more affordable, support the healthy development of children, and help low-income parents access the child care they need to go to work or to school to support their families. CLASP develops and promotes child care subsidy policies that expand access to assistance for low-income families, improve the quality of child care across settings, and help child care providers access the supports they need to provide high-quality care. We analyze state and national child care subsidy data to help advocates and policymakers better understand state policies and make the case for effective policies. For state child care assistance fact sheets, go to In the States.

Feb 29, 2016  |  PERMALINK »

Implications of CCDBG Reauthorization for TANF

By Christine Johnson-Staub

In an effort to meet requirements of the 2014 Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act, which was reauthorized in 2014, states are undertaking massive policy changes in their CCDBG programs. This gives them the opportunity to raise questions about the interaction between the new CCDBG rules and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, and to make changes to better coordinate the two programs.  Many states use TANF funds to offer child care assistance, and families who receive cash assistance under TANF may receive child care funded by either CCDBG or TANF.

New rules under the CCDBG Reauthorization apply to all CCDBG-funded care, including care funded with money transferred from TANF to CCDBG. New federal guidance jointly issued by the Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF’s) Office of Child Care and Office of Family Assistance clarifies those CCDBG rules for families that receive TANF assistance and also receive CCDBG-funded child care. The guidance also encourages further coordination between CCDBG and TANF-funded child care at the state level to provide low-income families with access to continuous, stable child care with common health and safety standards, regardless of funding stream.

Approximately 14 percent of families served by CCDBG nationally also receive cash assistance from TANF, and in some states the share is much higher. TANF families served in CCDBG are subject to the same new rules as other families, including 12-month eligibility and a minimum of 3 months of continued assistance before termination even if TANF benefits have been terminated. The guidance encourages states to consider the opportunities offered by CCDBG reauthorization to further align policies. For example, states can:

  • Review their policies and practices related to child care access as families move from TANF to post-TANF employment and education, to ensure children and families retain their child care assistance and maintain stable care arrangements through fluctuations in work schedules and earnings.
  • Encourage collaboration across lead TANF and CCDBG agencies throughout the CCDBG planning and implementation process, including consulting on provisions in state plans and training staff in both programs to fully understand changes in CCDBG policies and how they impact TANF operations.
  • Ensure that child care funded with TANF dollars meets the same health and safety standards as services funded with CCDBG dollars. President Obama’s recently proposed federal budget for FY2017 included a proposal that, if adopted by Congress, would require child care funded directly through TANF and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) meet CCDBG health and safety standards.
  • Apply CCDBG’s strengthened provider payment practices, such as paying based on enrollment rather than attendance to the extent practicable, to child care funded directly by TANF.

As states continue their CCDBG implementation work, this guidance from ACF offers options that can help them coordinate across agencies operating CCDBG and TANF programs, finding opportunities in their policies and practices to increase economic stability for families and more consistently provide children with access to stable care that supports their development. 

Read the ACF Information Memorandum>>

See CLASP resources on CCDBG Reauthorization>>

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