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Family Copayment Contribution

The law requires most CCDF families to make a contribution to the cost of care through a copayment. Lead Agencies must establish and periodically revise a sliding fee scale (based on family size and income) that provides for cost-sharing for families receiving a subsidy. Family copayment contributions can also vary on the basis of additional factors established at the Lead Agency’s discretion, such as the number of children in care and whether the care is full- or part-time; however, states may not use the cost of care or amount of subsidy payment when determining copayments. Additionally, states should ensure that family copayments are not a barrier to families receiving assistance. States have flexibility in establishing their sliding fee scales and determining what constitutes a cost barrier for families.

The CCDF Plan Preprint requires Lead Agencies to provide a summary of the data and facts relied on to determine that each family’s contribution is affordable and supports access to a full range of child care providers. The summary must include information on whether the Lead Agency allows providers to charge families additional amounts above the required co-payment when the provider’s price exceeds the subsidy payment, including:

  • The rationale for allowing providers to charge families additional amounts above the required co-payment, including a demonstration of how the policy promotes affordability and access for families
  • Data on the size, frequency and extent to which CCDF providers charge such additional amounts
  • An analysis of the interaction between the additional amounts charged to families above the required family co-payment, and the ability of current subsidy payment rates to provide access to care without additional fees
  • How the family contribution/copayment is affordable and is not a barrier to families receiving CCDF funds

A recommended benchmark is 7 percent of a family's income. [2]

At the Lead Agency’s discretion, copayments may be waived in three circumstances: 1) for families at or below the poverty level; 2) on a case-by-case basis for families receiving or at risk of receiving protective services; and 3) for families that meet other criteria established by the Lead Agency.

Affordable Co-payments (February 2021), by the National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability.


[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658E(c)(5); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.45(k) (2016).

[2] Office of Child Care. (2016). Child Care and Development Fund final rule frequently asked questions. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.