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Ensure Equal Access to Child Care for Low-Income Children

This part includes an overview of grants and contracts, market rate survey and alternative methodology requirements, setting payment rates, and timely payments to providers.

To support the continuity of care for children, states are required to describe the strategies they will use to ensure stable child care financial assistance for families.  These strategies include assessing market rates and child care costs, setting payment rates that are fair for CCDF families; setting payment practices that are timely and align with private-paying families; increasing the supply of child care services in underserved areas and for targeted groups; providing a minimum 12-month eligibility period for families receiving child care services through CCDF; allowing continued child care assistance for a reasonable period, if a parent needs to look for a job or resume education; taking into account fluctuating earnings of parents throughout the year, when making eligibility determinations; and providing a graduated phase-out of assistance, to promote a transition out of the child care subsidy program.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 specified dates when certain provisions were effective and allowed time to implement the new requirements:

  • Monitoring, including annual inspections of CCDF providers—became effective November 19, 2016
  • Posting results of monitoring and inspection reports—became effective November 19, 2017
  • Criminal background checks—became effective September 30, 2017 (further clarification provided in Section 6)
  • Where the Act did not specify a date, the statutory requirements became effective upon the date of enactment (November 19, 2014) and States had until September 30, 2016 to implement them