On February 28, 2024, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Child Care (OCC) announced the final rule that will lower costs for families that receive child care subsidies, improve payment practices to child care providers, and increase families’ child care options. The new rule makes updates to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which is the nation’s largest funding stream to help families afford child care and improve quality in child care settings.

The text of the full rule is available here.

From the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Child Care (OCC): “Key updates to CCDF include:

  • Reducing costs to families: The rule limits the amount that families pay to no more than 7 percent of their household income and makes it easier for Lead Agencies to eliminate co-payments for many more families.
  • Improving payments to providers: The rule requires Lead Agencies to make on-time payments to child care providers and better cover the cost of providing care, common business practices that will make it easier for child care providers to participate in CCDF and will better stabilize their operations.
  • Expanding choices for families: The rule will make it easier for families to find child care that meets their needs.
  • Cutting red tape: The rule clarifies flexibilities for presumptive eligibility to allow more families to start child care assistance right away so they do not lose out on a job opportunity. It also encourages Lead Agencies to streamline enrollment processes to make it easier for families to apply for and receive child care assistance if they have already demonstrated eligibility for another benefit program.”

CWLA partnered with SchoolHouse Connection to submit comments that address the provisions in the NPRM specifically related to children experiencing homelessness and children with child welfare involvement. It is worth noting that OCC made changes in this final rule to allow Lead Agencies to waive co-payments for families with children in foster and kinship care and families experiencing homelessness, which were recommendations made by CWLA and SchoolHouse Connection in our comments.