An estimated 14.3 million children were federally-eligible for child care assistance in an average month in 2011. Under state-defined eligibility rules, an estimated 8.4 million children were eligible for child care assistance in an average month in 2011 (see Figure 3).10
Figure 3: Number of Children Eligible and Number of Children Receiving Child Care Subsidies (1,000s), Average Monthly, 2011
Figure 4 shows the extent to which children eligible for child care subsidies based on federal parameters were eligible under the rules defined by their state of residence. Almost 3 out of 5 (59 percent) of federally-eligible children were eligible for subsidies under state-defined rules. Almost all (91 percent) federally-eligible children from families with incomes less than 100 percent of poverty were eligible under state-defined eligibility rules. By comparison, about half (48 percent) of federally-eligible children from families with incomes between 150 and 199 percent of poverty were eligible for services in their state. This figure11 shows only the percentage of children eligible for subsidies based on federal parameters that also were eligible under state rules and does not indicate rates of participation.
Figure 4: Percentage of Children Potentially Eligible Under Federal Parameters that are also Eligible Under CCDF State-Defined Rules, by Poverty Status, Average Monthly, 2011
10 Some of ASPE’s previous eligibility estimates excluded children age 4 and older who lived with at least one parent working between 1 and 19 hours per week. The estimates shown in this issue brief include this population when it is otherwise eligible. Had the previous methodology been used, the estimated number of children eligible under state-defined rules would have been about 3 percent lower (8,142,200 instead of 8,394,700) and the percentage of children served who were eligible under CCDF state rules would have been about 1 percentage point higher (30 percent instead of 29 percent). This change in methodology was made to provide greater internal consistency with the numerator of the calculation, which includes all children receiving subsidies, including school-aged children living with parents working less than 20 hours per week. This change does not impact the estimated number of children potentially eligible under federal parameters.
11 These numbers overstate to a small degree the percentages of children that are eligible under federal parameters that are also eligible under state-defined rules because some states define the eligibility units differently than what is used to define the eligibility units under federal parameters in this issue brief. This issue is discussed further in Appendix I.