Receiving subsidized child care —especially center-based care —is associated with a decreased risk of grade retention in grades K-12 among low-income children, especially low-income Black and Hispanic children, according to a new report by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The study linked data from the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) on the childcare experiences of individual children to education information on the same children in the American Community Survey (ACS) in subsequent years. Outcomes for children whose families received child care subsidies were compared with those for non-recipient children. The study also explored differences in outcomes based on the childcare setting.
The CCDF program provides funds to States, Territories, and Tribes to assist low-income families, families receiving temporary public assistance, and those transitioning from public assistance in obtaining child care so they can work or attend education/training programs. States are required to provide matching funds.
CCDF funding comprises the largest source of means-tested childcare assistance for low-income families in the U.S. In 2015, more than 58,000 families and 82,000 children in Florida benefited from the program on average each month, according to the federal Administration for Children & Families (ACF). Nearly one-third of children receiving subsidized care in Florida are age birth to three and 94 percent receive center-based care.
States are required to use a portion of CCDF funds to improve the quality of child care and other additional services to parents, such as resource and referral counseling regarding the selection of child care providers. The reauthorization of CCDF in 2014 included a provision increasing the minimum amount that States are required to spend for quality activities, and also included new funding for improving the quality of care for infants and toddlers. CCDF funding is administered in Florida by the state Office of Early Learning.