CCDF Policy Decision Authority

The Lead Agency must retain overall responsibility for the administration of the CCDF program. A primary purpose of the CCDBG Act is “to allow each state maximum flexibility in developing child care programs and policies that best suit the needs of children and parents within that state.” [2] Some states choose to administer all components of the CCDF child care program within the Lead Agency with the assistance of contractors. Others have found that critical roles such as health and safety monitoring and professional development align with services already provided in other state agencies.

The Lead Agency may also use other governmental or nongovernmental agencies or organizations to implement or perform CCDF services, such as the following:

  • Performing eligibility determinations
  • Assisting parents in locating child care
  • Issuing provider payments
  • Other CCDF activities identified by the state

These services and activities may be performed by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) agencies, local governments, child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&R), community organizations, or other entities.

Lead Agencies may choose to have certain rules and policies (such as those related to eligibility, sliding fee scales, and payment rates) set by counties or other local entities. States that use this approach are commonly referred to as “county-administered states.”

If CCDF funds are used for services conducted by other agencies, a written agreement must be in place with the Lead Agency outlining roles and responsibilities to ensure that CCDF requirements are met.


[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658D(b); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. §§ 98.10–98.11 (2016).

[2] CCDBG Act of 2014 658A(b)(1).