A Tool to Examine State Child Care Subsidy Policies and Promote Stable, Quality Care for Low-Income Babies and Toddlers

This tool is designed to provide a policy framework that lays out ideas for increasing access for low-income babies and toddlers to high quality child care settings through state child care subsidy systems. Using this tool, state leaders can:

  • Use a policy framework to understand how key aspects of child care subsidy policy can have a positive impact on the developmental needs of babies and toddlers.
  • Review a list of child care subsidy policies-ranging from simple to substantial changes-that can be implemented to better support babies and toddlers and their families.
  • Identify and examine their state’s current state child care subsidy policies.
  • Strategize what state child care subsidy policy changes could be made, whether to work toward those changes in the short- or longer-term, and whether those changes need state gubernatorial action (e.g. an Executive Order), legislative action, or an administrative or regulatory change (e.g. state child care administrator could take action).
  • Link to additional online resources and examples of state policy initiatives.


Users can download and save a copy of this tool, open the tool in Microsoft Word, then fill in the appropriate columns with their state’s current policies and opportunities for change. In addition, links are included to online resources and examples of state policy initiatives. Specific sections of the tool address the following policy goals:

  • Establish payment levels that allow families to access high-quality infant/toddler care.
  • Pay providers in a timely manner that supports financial stability.
  • Help families obtain and maintain subsidies.
  • Minimize disruptions in subsidy eligibility.
  • Promote cultural competency of the subsidy system.
  • Connect comprehensive services to babies and toddlers in subsidized care.
  • Ensure subsidy providers and caregivers have knowledge, skills, and qualifications to care for babies and toddlers.
  • Ensure the health and safety of babies and toddlers in subsidized child care.
  • Promote the quality of infant/toddler child care purchased with subsidies.
  • Establish baseline data on babies and toddlers receiving child care subsidies.


Free assistance in using this tool, and additional supporting resources, are available from CLASP. Please contact Hannah Matthews, 202-906-8006 or hmatthews@clasp.org.