Issue: School-Age Child Care

Afterschool programs are a critical resource for working families

The Child Care Development Block Grant is a major source of federal funding for afterschool care for school-age children with working parents.


Federal Child Care Funds can offer a great opportunity for afterschool and summer programs to tie in to funding, professional development, and quality work.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), was created in 1990 to provide child care for low-income families as they engage in the workforce. In a 1996 reauthorization, the CCDBG fund was established as part of a larger Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), including mandatory and matching funding components. CCDF gives families access to childcare and afterschool services promoting the learning and development of children up to age 13 (or up to age 19 if incapable of self-care or under court supervision) while parents work or attend training.

Overall, 45% of those receiving CCDF funds are school aged (5 to age 13). Approximately 785,000 school-age children each month receive CCDF assistance for their participation in before-school, afterschool, summer programming or in school-age childcare, with 72% of those served in center-based settings. Most families receiving assistance are given subsidy to purchase care, but there are opportunities for states to offer grants directly to providers to hold slots as well (see Utah for an example).

The CCDBG component of the larger Child Care Development Fund is subject annual discretionary appropriations and states must meet the requirements of the authorizing CCDBG law, most recently reauthorized in 2014, to receive the funds. Visit the Office of Child Care at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for comprehensive information on implementation of the 2014 CCDBG reauthorization.

Important components of the 2014 reauthorization include: health and safety requirements, background checks, licensing, quality supports, and consumer education. More on these areas below after funding. The legislation is currently up for reauthorization. See where child care policy stands in the political conversation with recent proposals on our webpage here.



Funding for CCDBG has increased each year since the 2014 reauthorization[i].







$2.435 B

$2.761 B


$5.213 B







$5.258 B

$5.826 B

$5.852 B

$6.17 B

$8.02 B


**In your state: See Estimated current (FY2023) funding levels for your state in this Center for Law and Social Policy Fact Sheet.  (Learn more about the procedure for state allocations and the official 2023 allocations).

COVID Relief Funds:

CCDF received substantial boosts in COVID relief legislation, including an extra $3.5 billion in an early package (CARES), $10 billion in the December 2020 package (CRRSA), and $39 billion in the American Rescue plan in March 2021.

The American Rescue Plan funds included $24 billion in Child Care Stabilization funds, which were due for obligation by Sept 2022, and must be liquidated by Sept 2023. The Office of Child Care has a basic map of state uses of funds available.

And $15 billion in Child Care Supplemental Funds, which are the most flexible relief funding stream and continue to be available for obligation through Sept 2023, and liquidation in 2024. These funds can be used for license-exempt and non-CCDF eligible programs to help them become licensed. Take a look at your state’s estimated allocation of the supplemental (expanded child care assistance funds).

The Office of Child Care put forth a number of resources and memorandum on the flexible funds, including suggestions on Using CCDF to Improve Compensation for the Child Care Workforce. Child Care Aware has a tracker of state announcements of how some funds were planned to be spent. The Office of Child Care also has a summary sheet.

Additionally, OCC Memos can help advocates make the case for necessary investment. For example,the additional CCDF relief dollars do not require a 9% quality set aside but can be used for quality across the whole child care landscape including to "benefit all child care providers, regardless of whether they are eligible to serve, or are currently serving, children receiving CCDF subsidies

State and local examples of relief fund uses for school-age care:

Utah: Grants to Utah School-Age Programs for Summertime Programmi (


Local Detroit Program funded with Stabilization Funds: Detroit families wait-listed for ‘maxed out’ after school program - BridgeDetroit

TANF Funds:

States also have the availability to transfer up to 30% of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds to CCDF. Additionally they can use TANF directly for child care programs under one of four eligible uses within the TANF law. See the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment 2018 brief on Using CCDF and TANF to support Quality Out of School Time, including an example of how Georgia uses TANF to fund afterschool.


States have great variation in whether the majority of their school-age child care providers are licensed, license-exempt but CCDF eligible, license-exempt, or some other configuration. Recently, a number of states have been working to make school-age licensing appropriate for the providers, settings and children served to increase access to quality school-age programs for families eligible for subsidy.

CCDF Supplemental funds can also be used to support this work, pg 9 of the guidance statesLead agencies should ensure that any legally-operating license-exempt programs are supported to meet health and safety and quality standards and are encouraged to expand licensing opportunities with the supplemental funds.

For more resources, see a recent (2022) brief and webinar from the National Center for Afterschool and Summer Enrichment, which highlight policy considerations to enable licensing to fit school-age providers. Wisconsin, for example, has established school-age specific licensing trainings taught in coordination with the Wisconsin Afterschool Network, so providers get relevant training for high quality programs from on-boarding.

See the National Database of Licensing Regulations here.


State agencies can work with statewide afterschool networks to establish school-age quality frameworks for their state. Quality is a major component of the CCDF program. States are required to set aside 9% of their discretionary allocation for quality activities. The Federal Department of Health and Human Services ASPE Office issued a Policy Maker's Guide to School-Age Child Care in Feb 2021 which recommends "increased investment in high quality school-age care". (Note- see how much extra quality money your state will have this year (2023) by multiplying your state’s increase by 0.09).

State’s are also thinking about how to establish quality improvement systems for school-age providers. A number of proposals for updated or reauthorized child care legislation in 2022, mentioned the importance of quality systems. Additionally, consumer education databases often include a programs quality rating. However, school-age providers are not always included.

The BUILD Initiative has hosted webinars on “Building a School-Age Quality System (2020)” and Reigniting a Culture of Improvement with Afterschool and Summer Enrichment Programs (2022), which is paired with a page of resources including quality self assessment tools and course calendars. See the complete BUILD Quality Compendium for more resources on quality.

NCASE has resources on professional development NCASE Professional Development System Building Toolkit: Out-of-School Time Professional Development System Building Toolkit (

Consumer Education:

As part of CCDF law, states must create consumer education databases to help parents navigate the child care system and find the care of their choice. The Afterschool Alliance put together some resources to help view this work from a school-age perspective, this includes including license-exempt school-age providers where applicable, making note of transportation between the school-day and program, and helping parents understand school-age quality if the state does not have a star system for school-age programs. Ensuring the map is as comprehensive as possible supports parents. See the resources here.

Background Checks:

Timely, low-or-no cost, easy to access background checks can help programs with their operations especially during these times of critical workforce shortages. The National Center on Subsidy Innovation and Accountability put together a brief on some state background check practices. More on the legal requirements of the background checks including a 45 day maximum turn around time and allowability of some provisional employment.


States can waive copays for families below the poverty level. A 2019 map shows which states had waivers for copays in place at that time.

CCDF State Plans:

Under the CCDBG law, states must submit CCDF State Plans every 3 years. States are currently operating under CCDF 2022-2024 plans. In the fall of 2023, the Office of Child Care will most likely put out for comment an initial draft of the CCDF 2025-2027 plan which will be submitted by states by summer of 2024 and go into effect in October 2024. The plans by law require stakeholder feedback including consultation with statewide afterschool networks.

See a summary of school-age mentions in the state drafts of the 2022-2024 CCDF plans.

We also have some resources from prior iterations of state plans including: Guide on possible advocacy opportunities for your state's plan or implementation process to help raise your voice for the school-age community in the planning process. A document from CCDF 2019-2021 Draft Plans comparing language in 3 state draft plans.

Additional Resources of Interest from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF):

Additional Resources: