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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. Programs funded by the CCDF are administered by states, territories and tribes with funding and support from the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Care, through the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act. 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.

  • States use CCDF to provide financial assistance to low-income families to access child care so they can work or attend a job training or educational program.
  • In addition, states use CCDF funding to invest in quality improvements to benefit all children in child care by building the skills and qualifications of the child care provider workforce, supporting child care programs to achieve higher standards, and providing consumer education to help parents select child care that meets their families’ needs.  
  • The CCDF program helps fund child care assistance for about 30,000 children and 15,000 families each month in Minnesota.
  • Minnesota's Federal Fiscal Year 2022-2024 Child Care Development Fund Plan

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.

Minnesota's CCDF Plan 

Every three years, states must submit a Child Care and Development Fund plan to identify how funds are spent by the state and document compliance with federal laws. States were required to comply with the Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014 by September 30, 2016. Minnesota needed additional time to fully implement changes necessary with the federal law change and was granted several waivers through September 30, 2018. Although Minnesota made substantial progress in implementing changes to state law to comply with federal laws, there are still some areas in which Minnesota needs to implement additional changes. 

Minnesota submitted a federal waiver and received waiver approval for some CCDBG background study components. The approved waiver allowed Minnesota additional time to come into compliance with all background study requirements on or before October 1, 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, peacetime emergency and Stay at Home order, Minnesota requested a federal waiver extension from the Office of Child Care which was granted on November 24, 2020, the requested waiver was approved through September 30, 2021.

Beginning September 15, 2021, Minnesota began a phased plan to ensure all study subjects that have not had a fully compliant background study submit a new background study using fingerprints. This will allow Minnesota to become fully compliant with federal background check requirements. As Minnesota works to come into compliance with CCDBG background study requirements there is a potential penalty tied to non-compliance after September 30, 2021. The potential penalty the state is at risk of being assessed is a 5% penalty. 

See below for more information about Minnesota's 22-24 CCDF Plan 

  • The department has agreed to cover the costs of enhanced child care background studies (which includes fingerprinting/photograph services) during the transition from emergency studies back to fully compliant fingerprint-based studies.  DHS will continue to cover the child care background study fees until further notice.  
  • 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.  

Funding sources

The federal government provided Minnesota $136,610,868 in Child Care and Development Funds in federal fiscal year 2021. In addition, Minnesota received one time funding in the amount of $135,153,284 from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRSSA) and $526,489,021 from the American Rescue Act during this same time period.  

Child Care Development Fund (CCDF)

  • The federal government provided Minnesota $136,610,868 in CCDF funds for fiscal year 2021.
  • States are required to contribute matching and other funds to maximize their federal allocation.
  • States are also required to spend at least 9% of their funds on activities to improve the quality and availability of child care and 3% of the funds must be set aside to improve the quality of care specifically for infants and toddlers.  In federal fiscal year 2021, Minnesota spent $52,931,380 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 $333,758,615, including $60,487,000 transferred from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, in Child Care and Development Fund dollars on its Child Care Assistance Program each year.

Supporting and stabilizing Minnesota's child care industry

In addition to activities and services described in the Minnesota Department of Human Services’ approved FFY 2022-2024 Child Care Development Fund Plan, the Department of Human Services, specifically the Child Care Services (CCS) Division, has received significant federal stimulus funds over the past year from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), which was signed into law on December 27, 2020, and the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Both of the federal stimulus bills have allocated significant resources to assist in stabilizing and supporting the child care industry and programs because of the critical role child care plays in providing care for children while also allowing the economy and employers to return to more typical operations. 

On March 11, 2021, the Child Care Stabilization Grants were appropriated in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act (Public Law 117-2).  Then at the end of June 2021, the Minnesota Legislature created Minnesota’s Child Care Stabilization Grant Program, which began in June 2021 and will last until June 2023. 

This program is intended to support child care providers who were hit hard by low enrollment, low or reduced workforce and high costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Child Care Stabilization Grant Program includes: 

Child Care Stabilization Transition Grants (June and July 2021)

Transition Grants were designed to allow time to finalize the specifics of the full Child Care Stabilization Grant Program and still provide support to eligible providers during the June and July monthly funding periods (paid in July and August). These grants have now concluded.

Child Care Stabilization Base Grants (September 2021 through June 2023)

Base Grants became available to all eligible providers in September 2021 for monthly grant awards.  At the start of each monthly application period, all eligible providers received an email with a link to a personalized application. Learn about the Base Grants.  

Child Care Stabilization Financial Hardship Grants 

Financial Hardship Grants will be available to child care programs experiencing extreme financial hardship. The specific amounts, criteria and timeline of the Financial Hardship Grants are in development.  Learn more about Financial Hardship Grants.

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