Equal Access Resources

Last Reviewed Date
June 22, 2023

Equal access is the assurance that states and territories must provide in their CCDF Plans that CCDF subsidies are sufficient to ensure eligible children have access to child care services that are comparable to services for children whose parents are not eligible. These resources, along with modules on market rate surveys, provide guidance on estimating costs of care and other tools and briefings on this topic. They support a deeper understanding of the comprehensive approach needed to assure equal access to child care.


Ensuring equal access

Equal Access Terms and Definitions

This resource provides a glossary for terms commonly used related to the Equal Access provisions of the CCDF Rule.

Requirements for MRS and Alternative Methodology

This program instruction clarifies requirements for CCDF Lead Agencies to develop and conduct market rate surveys or other methods for setting provider rates.

OPRE Report 2017-115 Market Rate Surveys and Alternative Methods of Data Collection and Analysis to Inform Subsidy Payment Rates

This resource provides research-informed guidance on collecting data on child care prices and costs for the purpose of setting child care subsidy payment rates.

Steps to Conduct a Market Rate Survey or Alternative Methodology Across the 3-Year CCDF Plan Cycle

This document outlines the steps a Lead Agency must complete in conducting a market rate survey or approved alternative methodology.

Rate Setting Data Plan for Next Three-Year CCDF Plan Cycle

This tool will help agencies create a plan to inform provider rate setting. It covers pre-data gathering activities all the way to using reports to set rates.

Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Budget Calculator

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Budget Calculator is intended to help Lead Agencies understand the impact of three common factors on the CCDF budget.

Ensuring a Statistically Valid and Reliable Market Rate Survey

This checklist is a tool CCDF Lead Agencies can use to provide an easy-to-use guide that identifies critical components of a reliable market rate survey.

Child Care Market Rate Survey Tool Evaluation

This resource provides examples of typical market rate survey questions states use and corresponding improvements to those questions.

School-Age Child Care Surveys and Rate Setting

This practice brief explores the ways that Lead Agencies can play a role in mitigating the challenges for low-income working parents who need school-age child care.

Considerations for Contracting for a Market Rate Survey

This brief explores what states should consider if they have decided to use a contractor to conduct a market rate survey.

Using Administrative Data in Market Rate Surveys

This resource discusses the use of administrative data in conducting market rate surveys, highlighting considerations for CCDF Lead Agencies.

Preparing to Use Administrative Data in Your Market Rate Survey

This resource offers strategies for Lead Agencies to strengthen the quality of their existing administrative data so that it can be used instead of surveying providers on market rates.

Designing and Conducting Your Market Rate Survey

This brief, second in a series, discusses important details around conducting and designing a market rate survey.

Analyzing Your Market Rate Survey Data

This brief, third in a series, discusses analyzing market rate survey results and developing price estimates to help Lead Agencies with base payment rates.

Using Market Rate Survey and Other Data Sources to Set Subsidy Payment Rates

The brief, fourth in a series, discusses how market rate survey data and information from other sources can inform the CCDF rate-setting process.

Alternative Methodologies and Cost Analyses for Subsidies

This resource gives CCDF Lead Agencies guidance on developing and conducting alternative methodologies and narrow cost analyses to create subsidy payment rates.

Addressing Equal Access through Alternative Methodologies and Cost Analyses

This document explains network mapping and its benefits and provides a tool to identify and build relationships with other organizations and individuals.

Defining Narrow Cost Analysis

This brief defines narrow cost analysis and child care costs and prices. It also explains how narrow cost analysis helps inform payment rates.

CCDF Payment Rates: Understanding the 75th Percentile

This brief assists in understanding the 75th percentile.

Affordable Co-payments Brief

A summary of family co-payment requirements for Lead Agencies in the CCDF Rule. It covers sliding fee scales, mandates, and co-payment flexibilities.

Requirements, Flexibilities, and Administration Considerations for Setting Affordable Co-payments: A Checklist

The purpose of this tool is to allow Lead Agencies to evaluate whether they meet policy requirements for setting affordable co-payments.

Strategies to Support Use of Contracts for Child Care Slots

This implementation guide outlines strategies for using contracts for direct service child care slots.

Strategies to Improve Payment Practices: An Implementation Guide to ARP Act CCDF Discretionary Supplemental Funds

This guide includes strategies that can improve reliable subsidy revenue. These include payment by enrollment, flexible attendance, and paying prospectively.