PPA studied two major shifts in the policies around child care affecting the Child Development and Care (CDC) program: (1) an increase in the program’s eligibility threshold from 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL) to 200% of the FPL and (2) the introduction of temporary stabilization grants for child care providers. These changes occurred as part of a larger effort to respond to the economic
consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The eligibility-threshold change allowed two-parent families with two young children earning $49,000 per year and a single-parent family with one infant earning $32,200 per year to become eligible for child care assistance. The change sought to increase access to quality care for families.

The stabilization grants from November 2021 through October 2022 provided millions of dollars in support to the 6,400 providers who qualified. Providers could use the funds to cover personnel costs; to pay for facilities including rent, maintenance, and insurance; to buy equipment and supplies; to provide mental health services to employees; and to pay off past expenses. The intent of these grants was to provide financial support to keep providers open and serving families and children. The flexibility of the funds allowed providers to pay off sudden expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic without interrupting their ability to provide affordable child care.

The study has examined the effects of policy changes for the CDC program’s outcomes since fall 2019. Each year the policies studied differed, but the study used a similar set of methods and maintained a continuous focus on understanding if racial/ethnic and geographic equity was present in the results. In this last year of the study, PPA sought out program actors’ voices and experiences through:

  • Parent and provider telephone interviews
  • An eligibility specialist survey
  • State agency policy coordination self-assessment
  • Analysis of program case records

You can read the report via the link below.

This report was made possible by Grant Number 90YE0219 from the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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