With a state partner group, a provider feedback group, and a family feedback group, we developed a mixed-methods design to examine how the program’s policies and administration affected program use, equitable access to child care, and user satisfaction.

Studying the payment-related aspects of the program gives Michigan critical information to understand the effects of its policies and improve the program.

The Process

Beyond the feedback groups, the planning process also included a literature review, baseline analysis of program data, and initial piloting of data-collection tools.

Study Overview

The design features provider and family voices, trend analysis, and program data and materials. To understand the role of administrative burden in program outcomes, we developed questions to ask eligibility specialists (caseworkers), providers, and families, as well as a means of analyzing program documents for complexity.


  1. Family contribution waiver for all families/return to co-payment requirement for some
  2. Increased/decreased provider payment rates
  3. Billing based on enrollment versus attendance
  4. Billing by time blocks for licensed providers
  5. Contracted slots for infants and toddlers (a pilot of less than 300 slots)

This work is supported by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the United States (U.S.) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award (Grant #90-YE-0253) totaling $1.1 million with 100 percent funded by ACF/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACF/HHS or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit the ACF website, Administrative and National Policy Requirements.

Next Steps

  • Continuing to consult with the state partner group and the grantee Community of Practice
  • More robust piloting of data-collection tools
  • Sharing our learning about studying program administrative burden
  • Applying for funding to implement the study design