Child care is crucial for the well-being of parents, children, and our nation. It enables parents to work and support their families. It gives children a safe, nurturing environment to learn and develop skills they need to succeed in school and in life. And, by strengthening the current and future workforce, it boosts our nation’s economy. Yet many families, particularly low-income families, struggle with the high cost of child care. These costs can strain families’ budgets, force parents to use lower-cost care even if they would prefer other options for their children, or prevent parents from working because they cannot afford care. Child care assistance can enable families to overcome these challenges by helping families pay for child care.
Given the importance of child care assistance to families, it is essential for states to have strong child care assistance policies. Under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), the major federal child care assistance program, states have flexibility to set policies within federal parameters. NWLC’s report, Early Progress: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2019 examines states’ policies in five key areas—income eligibility limits to qualify for child care assistance, waiting lists for child care assistance, copayments required of parents receiving child care assistance, payment rates for child care providers serving families receiving child care assistance, and eligibility for child care assistance for parents searching for a job.
These 51 fact sheets summarize the state-specific information in Early Progress: State Child Care Assistance Policies 2019.