Figure 1. Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Eligibility and Receipt in Florida
Sources: Urban Institute simulations and state administrative data reported to the Child Care Bureau.
- 1,434,000 children under age 13 live in families where the family head (and spouse if present) is working or is in an education or training program, as shown in Figure 1. Children across all family income levels are included in this estimate. Most of these children (1,375,000) live with working parents.1
- 422,000 of these children, and 263,000 families, are estimated to meet Florida’s income guidelines for child care assistance under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) October 1997 state plan. The eligibility estimate would be even higher — 705,000 children — if Florida raised income eligibility limits to 85 percent of State Median Income, the maximum level allowed under Federal law.2
- To be initially eligible for subsidies under Florida’s October 1997 state plan, a family of 3 had to have income below $19,476, or 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. A family of three can continue to receive subsidies until its income reaches $24,084, or 185% of the Federal Poverty Level.
- Nearly all eligible children (95 percent) live in families with annual income below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level and just under one-half (49 percent) are living in poverty. (The few eligible families with annual income above 200 percent of poverty had lower income for some months of the year and were thus eligible for child care assistance during those months.) About 16 percent live in families that report receiving cash welfare.
- Most (381,000) eligible children are under age 13 with working parents; the remaining children have parents in education/training programs.
- 47,000 children in Florida received child care subsidies through CCDF-funded programs in an average month in 1998. This estimate suggests that 11 percent of the eligible population under state limits (and 7 percent of children who would be eligible under the Federal maximum limits) were served with CCDF funds. In addition, Florida’s state administrative data system indicates that 57,000 children were served with other Federal and state funds.3
- In Florida, most (85 percent) of child care settings receiving funds from CCDF in 1998 were center-based settings, as shown in Figure 2. The remaining settings include family child care homes (10 percent), care by relatives (3 percent) and in-home care by non-relatives (2 percent).4
Figure 2. Child Care Settings Subsidized by CCDF in Florida
Source: State administrative data for April-September 1998 reported to the Child Care Bureau.
- The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) is the major source of Federal funding allocated to states to subsidize the child care expenses of low- and moderate-income families so they can work, or attend education or training programs. Using CCDF dollars along with state funds, Florida has designed its own child care program within broad parameters specified under federal law. CCDF-funded subsidies, and the number of children that the state reported were served with these subsidies, are highlighted in this report because CCDF is a primary source of funding in most states. Also, CCDF administrative data is the most comparable source of child care data across states. It should be noted, however, that Florida, like many other states, also uses other funding sources to provide child care subsidies.
- In April 1999, there were 18,790 children on the waiting list for government subsidies in Florida.5 Of the children on the waiting list, 40 percent were less than three years old, 28 percent were between 3 and 5 years old, and 32 percent were between 6 and 12 years old. Time on the waiting list can vary by district. Some children remain on the list only a few days and some children have been on lists for more than 2 years. The waiting time is contingent upon district funding and the family’s priority for services.
- The state of Florida has a priority system for determining who receives child care subsidies. Children determined to be at-risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation have the highest priority, followed by children whose families are participating in the welfare-to-work program (WAGES) and families whose income is less than 100 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. Children in families whose income is between 100 and 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level receive the lowest priority. The majority of the waiting list (91 percent) comprises children in this last category.
- In addition to the waiting list, state staff believe that there are eligible families that do not apply for child care subsidies. This belief is corroborated by staff from state child care resource and referral agencies.