Being Part of the Change We Seek: FAQs on the Role of Philanthropy in Implementation of New Federal Child Care Rule

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The Early Childhood Funder Collaborative (ECFC) is committed to engaging our members and philanthropy in learning and action to improve policies for children, families, and those that serve them. On March 1, 2024, the federal government finalized rule changes for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), also known in Federal regulations as the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). The rule is intended to lower family costs for child care, make provider payments better, and improve the processes used to enroll families in child care assistance. Federal data show that CCDF helped nearly 800,000 families and more than 1.3 million children under age 13 with financial assistance for child care each month. This is a critical opportunity to make a difference in states, but timely implementation is not a given.

With the expiration of pandemic era federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, many of the advances implemented by states are ending. The Child Care Stabilization program – which expired September 2023 – gave states $24 billion to grant to 225,000 child care programs and reached 10 million children. Now there is an ongoing staffing crisis and providers are closing their doors. The federal changes require better payment practices so that providers are not waiting on states to reimburse them, or losing payment for days children are absent. Over 100,000 families that currently pay more than 7% of their income to participate in child care financial assistance programs will see lower costs and be able to use their savings to choose to pay for other household expenses and pay off debts.

ECFC and the Raising Child Care Fund (RCCF) developed this document to help our members and other funders learn about the impact this rule will have on child care assistance programs and to take action to support timely implementation in states. Note that new guidance is forthcoming from the Office of Child Care (OCC), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) on aspects of implementation, so this is a point in time analysis.

Read our FAQs on the Role of Philanthropy in Implementation of New Federal Child Care Rule.

Photo credit: Photo by Jason Sung on Unsplash

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