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Supply Building Strategies to Meet the Needs of Certain Populations

The CCDBG Act and CCDF final rule require states to develop and implement strategies to increase the supply and improve the quality of child care providers to meet the needs of certain underserved populations, including

  • children in underserved areas;
  • infants and toddlers;
  • children with disabilities; and
  • children who receive care during nontraditional hours. [2]

Further, Lead Agencies must prioritize increasing access to high-quality child care and development services for children living in areas with significant concentrations of poverty and unemployment that do not currently have a sufficient number of such programs.

States must report in their CCDF Plans how they will determine supply needs and which strategies they will use to increase the supply and improve the quality of child care services for these underserved populations. Strategies may include

  • offering tiered payment rates to providers,
  • offering services through direct contracts or grants to providers, and
  • giving children priorities for services.

States must also include whether they plan to use grants and contracts in building supply. Grants and contracts may give providers an incentive to offer care to special populations, require higher quality standards, and guarantee certain numbers of slots to be available for low-income children eligible for subsidies. Grants and contracts can provide financial stability for child care providers by paying in regular installments, paying based on maintenance of enrollment, or paying prospectively rather than on a reimbursement basis. Without stable funding, it can be difficult for providers—particularly those in low-income or rural communities—to pay for the higher costs associated with providing high-quality child care. While Lead Agencies may use grants and contracts to build supply, they must still provide CCDF families with the option to choose a certificate or voucher to access child care.

As an example, grants and contracts may be used to support the following:

  • Family child care networks
  • Start-up funding
  • Technical assistance support
  • Recruitment of providers
  • Tiered payment rates
  • Support for improving business practices, such as management training, paid sick leave, and shared services
  • Accreditation supports
  • Child care health consultation
  • Mental health consultation

Finally, states must include a description of how supply-building mechanisms will address the needs they have identified. The description must

  • identify shortages in the supply of high-quality child care providers;
  • list the data sources used to identify shortages; and
  • describe the method of tracking progress to support equal access and parental choice.

Existing needs assessments and population data are collected by State Advisory Councils, Head Start State Collaboration Offices, child care resource and referral agencies, and Head Start and Early Head Start grantees. The information may help states make a determination of which needs are most pressing and how best to target state and CCDF funds to build the supply of quality care for particular populations.

Additional Resources

  • Market Rate Survey Series (March 2018), by the National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability.
  • Guidance on Estimating and Reporting the Costs of Child Care (January 2018), by the National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance and the National Center on Child Care Subsidy Innovation and Accountability.
  • Equal Access Resources (2019) These resources, along with modules on market rate surveys, provide guidance on estimating costs of care and other tools and briefings on this topic support a deeper understanding of the comprehensive approach needed to assure equal access to child care.
  • Addressing the Decreasing Number of Family Child Care Providers in the United States (March 2020) Action is needed to ensure that family child care remains a strong, healthy component of the early childhood education system. This brief examines the reasons family child care homes close and offers information that your state, territory, or tribe can use to solve this problem.

[1] CCDBG Act of 2014 658 E(c)(2)(M); Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.46(b) (2016).

[2] Child Care and Development Fund, 45 C.F.R. § 98.16(x) (2016).