Child Care Assistance Spending and Participation in 2012 – A Record Low

Source: Hannah Matthews and Stephanie Schmit, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), February 2014

Child care subsidies help make quality child care affordable for low-income parents, allowing them to attend work or school to support their families while ensuring their children’s healthy development. Access to quality child care is also proven to strengthen families’ economic security. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the primary source of federal funding for child care subsidies for low-income working families and to improve child care quality. States contribute in the form of matching funds and maintenance-of-effort (MOE). In addition, states use funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to deliver child care assistance. States can spend TANF funds directly on child care or transfer up to 30 percent of their funds to CCDBG or a combination of CCDBG and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). TANF also has a state MOE requirement. This brief provides analysis of national trends for spending and participation in CCDBG and TANF child care in 2012, based on the most recent state data available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).