Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization: A Guide for States

This is an update to a brief published in April 2015, following the 2014 bipartisan reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Produced jointly by CLASP and the National Women’s Law Center, the updated guide includes an outline and discussion of provisions in the final rule implementing CCDBG issued in September 2016 by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This guidebook summarizes and analyzes key sections of the law and offers recommendations—and cautions—for policymakers and advocates as they consider how to implement those sections.

The updated guide provides greater understanding of the law and regulations and makes the case for necessary legislative and administrative policy changes at the state level and necessary funding increases at the federal and state level.

Because of the complexity of the reauthorization, states expressed a need for significant new investments to seize the opportunities offered by the law to improve child care to benefit children, parents, and providers. In the years following the reauthorization, Congress appropriated minimal CCDBG funding increases that were far less than needed to support implementation.

The CCDBG reauthorization stands at a critical juncture. Without new resources to implement the law, states face the possibility of being forced to make tradeoffs that will undermine the very goals of the reauthorization. Moving a reform forward without adequate funding leaves states with no choice but to trade off among essential priorities: basic health and safety assurances; quality improvements; economic stability for families; and resources for providers.

Despite widespread agreement on the worthy goals of the CCDBG reauthorization, its ultimate success will depend on federal and state lawmakers’ commitment to investing in this vital work support and child care program.