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Child Care and Development Fund

Increasing availability, affordability and quality

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is the primary source of federal funding for child care subsidies, parent information and child care quality supports. It provides an opportunity to make improvements in state systems to better serve children, parents and child care providers. The federal government reauthorized the fund in 2014 to improve the health, safety and quality of child care and development as well as help families with low incomes access care for their children.

Read more about Minnesota's plan to come into complete compliance with a federal law that is intended to provide financial assistance to low-income families to access child care.

Serving families and providers

Child Care and Development Fund dollars help:

  • Protect the health and safety of children in child care
  • Promote continuity of access to subsidy for families with low incomes
  • Inform parents and the general public about child care choices available to them
  • Improve the overall quality of early learning and afterschool programs.

Funding improvements

  • The federal government provided Minnesota $121.7 million in Child Care and Development Fund money in Federal Fiscal Year 2018.
  • The federal government requires states to contribute matching and other funds to maximize their federal allocation.
  • In federal fiscal years 2018 and 2019, states must spend at least 8% of their funds on activities to improve the quality and availability of child care, increasing to at least 9% in Federal Fiscal Year 2020; additionally, 3% of funds must be set aside to improve the quality of care specifically for infants and toddlers. In Federal Fiscal Year 2018, Minnesota spent $18.6 million to improve the quality and availability of child care. 
  • States must spend at least 70% of the Child Care and Development Fund mandatory and matching funds on families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits, transitioning from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or at risk of becoming eligible for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • The Minnesota Department of Human Services currently spends more than $131 million, including $49.7 million transferred from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, in Child Care and Development Fund dollars on its Child Care Assistance Program each year. In total, Minnesota spends more than $265 million annually on child care assistance.

Supporting innovation

In addition to activities and services described in the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ approved Federal Fiscal Year 2019 – 2021 Child Care Development Fund Plan, the department is pursuing new innovative activities, informed by input from the public, with $6.5 million in Child Care and Development Fund money appropriated by Congress in spring 2018. The department will spend these funds between 2019 and 2021 on background studies, Early Childhood Systems Reform pilot programs, supports for the child care workforce, and supports for child care providers to address children’s mental health needs.

  • The department is covering the costs of enhanced background studies for current child care providers and staff. The department estimates that between 100,000 and 120,000 current child care center staff, license holders and household members will need an enhanced background study sometime in the next two years.  
  • The department will support the child care workforce by offering training, coaching, grants and scholarships to pursue degrees and credentials.
  • The department is using Child Care and Development Fund dollars for early childhood mental health consultation in child care to fund training for consultants and quality coaches, provide mental health consultation to child care providers in Parent Aware-rated programs, and evaluating the mental health consultation system.
  • The department will address shortages in quality child care in rural Minnesota communities by working with local partners to assess the gaps in child care supply in their regions, facilitate a regional dialogue, create a plan for addressing the child care supply gaps and carry out a plan for addressing them.
  • Surveys of Minnesota households and early care and education programs will be carried out as a part of a national study of early care and education, providing insight into child care supply and demand, and the opportunities and challenges involved in improving the supply of high quality care and families’ access to that care.
  • The department is providing grants of $300,000 per year for four years to three local sites to enter into a multi-year, co-creative process to develop or expand upon whole family (child and caregiver) approaches to address the systemic influences to racial inequities in program access and outcomes, and support coordination across the systems that serve children and families. This includes strategies to shift or realign systems (such as policies, practices, programs, initiatives, funding, governance, data and communications) and to increase access to opportunities for children and families in communities with significant racial, ethnic, economic, health and education disparities.  
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