Public Policy Associates (PPA) is conducting research on the effects of policy changes to the Michigan Child Development and Care (CDC) program, which provides assistance to help families access quality child care.

PPA is conducting the Michigan Child Care Policy Research Partnership research with the Michigan Department of Education and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) under a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Using aggregated program data and data from the American Community Survey, preliminary results show that the 2015 extension of program eligibility to 12 months (rather than 6 months) and instituting a graduated exit from the program as family income rose had a significant effect. These changes showed increases in approvals for subsidies and for subsidy utilization for those families who would potentially qualify for the CDC program based on income. A survey of MDHHS caseworkers and interviews with child care providers supported the importance of these policy changes.

Delinking the provider assignment from subsidy approval in 2016 had a strong positive effect on approvals, but not on utilization for potentially qualified children. Caseworkers and State partner staff saw this as an important policy change.

Increases in 2017 to the amounts paid to providers within the program and to the income-eligibility threshold showed moderate effect on approvals but not on utilization. We suspect this may be due to the relatively low increases made (in terms of market and need); other states that had higher increases saw effects.

The proportion of those approved for a subsidy that used one was fairly stable through June 2015 (averaging 73%), after which it has steadily declined, falling under 50% in late 2018.

PPA will release a full report of findings this fall, with additional research results to come as the project proceeds.

For more information about this research project or PPA’s work on child care, please contact Colleen Graber (project director),, or Nathan Burroughs, Ph.D. (principal investigator),