Estimates of Child Care Eligibility and Receipt for Fiscal Year 2011. Children Who Received Child Care Subsidies


An estimated 2.4 million children received child care services through CCDF or related government funding streams in an average month in fiscal year 2011 (see Table 1).5 While the majority of these children, 1.6 million, received assistance through CCDF, this estimate of receipt also includes roughly 800,000 total children with subsidies funded through the following: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), and state expenditures claimed as TANF maintenance of effort (MOE) funds.6

Some children were more likely to receive services than others. Eligible children from the lowest-income families were the most likely to receive child care assistance. Roughly 37 percent of federally-eligible children from families with incomes below 100 percent of poverty and 22 percent of those from families with incomes between 101 percent and 150 percent of poverty were served (see Figures 2a and 2b).7

By comparison, 4 percent of federally-eligible children from families with incomes greater than 150 percent of poverty were served. In the case of families with one adult and two children, eligible children from families with incomes greater than 150 percent of poverty would include those from families with incomes greater than roughly $27,200 (about $2,300 when measured monthly) but less than 85 percent of their state’s median income.

Figures 2a and 2b show that federally-eligible children between ages 0 and 4 were much more likely to receive subsidized care than eligible children older than age 5. In 2011, 26 percent of federally-eligible children ages 0 to 4 were served (including 12 percent of infants, 28 percent of children ages 1 to 2, and 30 percent of children ages 3 to 4). By comparison, 13 percent of federally-eligible children ages 6 to 9 and 6 percent of federally-eligible children ages 10 to 12 received subsidized care. Figures 2a and 2b also show differences in the proportion of federally-eligible children served by family income.

Figure 2: Percentage of Children Eligible under Federal Parameters that Receive Child Care Subsidies, by Age and Poverty Status, Average Monthly, 2011


5 This estimate of receipt excludes about 18,400 children served in U.S. territories as well as children receiving services from only Head Start, state pre-kindergarten programs, or other early childhood programs without funding from CCDF or related government funding streams. This estimate also excludes children served through subsidies administered solely by Indian reservations/tribes.

6 CCDF-funded children include children funded through federal CCDF funds, state CCDF funds, and transfers of TANF funds to the CCDF program. While some states include children other than CCDF-funded children in their child care data reports (generally because they combine funds from several funding streams into one child care program), these states also report the percentage of pooled funding coming from CCDF, and this percentage is used to estimate the CCDF-funded children. The estimate assumes that children funded by TANF, TANF MOE, and SSBG have the same subsidy costs per child as CCDF-funded children, about $382 per month based on state-reported ACF-801 administrative data, and the same age and poverty distribution as CCDF-funded children.

7 Poverty figures are based on 2011 poverty thresholds published by the U.S. Census Bureau, Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division. The Census Bureau threshold is divided by twelve to create a monthly, rather than yearly, threshold. For purposes of determining recipients’ poverty status for this estimate, recipient income is measured after any applicable state-determined income disregards are applied. This estimation process likely overestimates to a small degree the number and percent of children from families below 100 percent of poverty who are served.

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