In November 2014, Congress reauthorized the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care program, for the first time since 1996. It is aimed at ensuring the health and safety of children in child care, facilitating families’ access to child care assistance, and improving the quality of child care for children, and for infants and toddlers in particular.

This guide is designed to help policymakers and advocates gain a better understanding of what is entailed in fully implementing the law. It summarizes and analyzes key sections of the law, offering recommendations and cautions for states. The appendices include a summary of the law, a detailed chart comparing specific provisions of the new law with those of the previous law, an implementation timeline, a checklist indicating state compliance with select provisions of the law, and state-by-state information on CCDBG funding and children served.

To fulfill the goals of the legislation, states will need to be strategic and thoughtful about implementation, including paying careful attention to resources. Additional federal and state resources will be essential to ensure that states do not make tradeoffs that would undermine the very goals of the reauthorization and further reduce the number of children served.