School Age - About
The National Center on Afterschool and Summer Enrichment (NCASE), sponsored by the Office of Child Care, supports greater access to and improved quality of child care for school-age children and their families. NCASE provides information on the needs of school-age children served by the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which offers low-income working parents financial support to help offset the cost of child care.
In 2018 NCASE released a set of national, state, and territory profiles that shared information on school-age child care supported by CCDF. The profiles included data on the numbers of school-age children served through CCDF, the settings in which care takes place, and fluctuations in the number of school-age children served during the summer months. The profiles also offered data related to the U.S. Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which is the other major federal investment in afterschool and summer programming. In addition, the profiles included information on state policies and practices that can help promote greater access to school-age child care and improved quality of programs.
In 2019, NCASE released an updated set of data profiles, contain many of the same data points as the original. This report represents an update of the 2018 national, state, and territory profiles of school-age child care. In addition, the 2019 profiles included a new section related to states' creation of consumer education websites (as required under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act and the Final Rule of 2016) to share information with families about child care options. The 2020 report represents the latest update of the data profiles of school-age child care using the most currently available data.1
Note: Because this report uses FY 2018 data, these profiles do not reflect COVID-19 impacts on the child care system.
Explanation of Data Included in the Profiles
Definition of School Age
The profiles are based on a definition of school age that includes 5-year-olds. The Office of Child Care’s inclusion of 5-year-olds within the "school-age" population reflects the fact that many 5-year-olds in kindergarten need access to quality afterschool and summer child care while their parents are at work. This expanded definition of school age has implications for state and territory administrators and other stakeholders, broadening their understanding of the full scope of the school-age population.
Child Care and Development Fund Data
The profiles describe the administrative oversight of various CCDF functions and present the characteristics of the school-age population served through CCDF. These figures are based on the data that states and territories submit through the ACF 801 reporting form. The profiles use FY 2018 preliminary data, which is the most recent data approved by ACF at the time of the profiles’ publication. The profiles also present data about states’ and territories’ use of grants and contracts for child care slots and whether the CCDF Lead Agency’s training and professional development requirements include supporting the positive development of school-age children. This information comes from the FY 2019-2021 CCDF State and Territory Plans.
Consumer Education Website Data
The updated profiles include information related to states’ and territories’ consumer education websites’ child care search features. The profiles note whether the websites’ provider listings indicate the age range of children served (e.g., school- age) and if providers accept CCDF subsidies, as well as whether the websites include license-exempt CCDF providers. While these are not required elements of the consumer education websites, they can affect parents’ experiences using the websites as well as their ability to find a range of child care options that suit their needs.
21st Century Community Learning Centers Program
In addition to the CCDF data, the profiles offer information on the 21st CCLC program in each state, in order to show the broader scope of federal investments in afterschool and summer enrichment. In the 2018 and 2019 profiles, we reported on the number of 21st CCLC centers. However, for the 2018-2019 program year, state level information on the number of centers is not available, The state profiles in this report contain student participation numbers from the U.S. Department of Education; the national profile also includes the overal number of 12st CCLC centers, which comes from the 2018-2019 21st CCLC Program Evaluation (21apr) report.
Statewide Afterschool Networks and National AfterSchool Association State Affiliates
The profiles also include information on statewide afterschool networks and National AfterSchool Association state affiliates (where applicable). These statewide entities offer training, technical assistance, and other services to help increase the quality of afterschool and summer care and raise awareness about the importance of these programs. Representatives from these organizations often work closely with CCDF Lead Agency staff, as well as 21st CCLC representatives, to help coordinate quality improvement efforts that benefit school-age children.
How to Use the National and State/Territory Profiles
The profiles provide stakeholders with a picture of individual state and territory data and policies as well as a cross-state comparison. The appendices to the full report allow stakeholders to see how data or policies vary across states and territories, as well as how a given state’s or territory’s data compares to the national average. The profiles can be used to raise stakeholders’ awareness of the proportion of children served through subsidies that are school age, the proportion of school-age children served in particular types of care (e.g., family child care), and the degree to which consumer education websites include features that can help parents identify providers who meet their needs. The profiles can also be used to see which states and territories have specific policies in place, such as the use of grants and contracts for child care slots, which can help stakeholders identify states and territories to reach out to and learn from if they are interested in adopting a similar strategy.
The 2019 data profiles did not include individual territory profiles because their CCDF plans has not yet been finalized. While the territory plan are now available, FY 2018 ACF enrollment data are not included in this update of the data profiles. For that reason, individual territories plans are not included in this update of the data profiles; however, all available territory data are included in the appendices and factored into the aggregated data reported in the national data profile.