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.

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), also referred to as 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. CCDF gives these families access to childcare and afterschool services promoting the learning and development of children up to age 13 while parents work or attend training.

Approximately 611,000 school-age children receive CCDF assistance for their participation in before-school, afterschool, summer programming or in school-age childcare. 44% of those receiving CCDF funds are school aged (5 to age 13). Most families receiving assistance are given vouchers to purchase care. 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.

  • Appropriated Funding: For Fiscal Year 2021, CCDF (CCDBG) received $5.911 billion, an increase of $85 million from FY 2020. In addition to major increases in previous years, additional funding means more funding for youth access to quality programs, more children off waiting lists, more resources to meet new requirements in health and safety and background checks, as well as more funds for technical assistance and professional development.
  • Quality Set Aside: There is a 9% quality set aside required of each state from their portion the $5.911 billion that can be used in areas such professional development, technical assistance and also school-age standards where desired. The American Institutes for Research (AIR) completed a 2020 quality scan of afterschool standards, assessment tools and staff core competencies across all 50 states, showcasing the advancing field that can be applied to school-age care within state CCDF administration and implementation. 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"
  • COVID Relief: Additionally, in COVID relief packages, CCDF received substantial boosts of an extra $3.5 billion in an early package (CARES), $10 billion in the December 2020 package (CRRSA), and Congress just passed in March 2021 the American Rescue Plan which offers another $39 billion for CCDF and the Child Care Stabilization Fund.

For more on school-age child care details see our new backgrounder on some of the funding, opportunities and research that supports meaningful integration of the school-age population

CCDF State Plans – Current Opportunity:

States are working on their pre-print Child Care Plans for 2022-2024 right now. See the plan on the Office of Child Care webpage (linked at the bottom). Plans are due July 1, 2021 and begin implementation October 1st, 2021. The Afterschool Alliance submitted comments on the earlier draft. The plan is quite similar to the last plan cycle. Some sections were slightly reorganized, there is a question for how COVID may affect the costs of operation, and there are some additional mentions of school-age care..

Child Care Aware is tracking your state plan timeline and comment period: Click Here and Scroll Down

Some important areas in the planning and comment process:

  • Statewide Afterschool Networks are a mandatory collaborating partner in state plans.There are many areas in the plan where school-age is mentioned and advocates and partners can weigh in.
  • School-Age Care: School-age care can sometimes be an afterthought in CCDF plans. Feel free to use your own talking points, the "backgrounder" document above, or some key facts about school age care to help ensure their field is inclusive of all ages. The Afterschool Alliance also has a one-pager on how afterschool programs support COVID recovery.
  • COVID definitely may affect providers' needs. The Afterschool Alliance series of provider surveys including this most recent may be helpful in understanding some of school-age providers’ needs.  Also see the newly released America After 3 PM report for additional research on the availability and accessibility of school age comprehensive afterschool programs across America and in your state.

Take a look at our 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.

There is also a draft letter available that can be modified to help communicate with administrators possible areas for school-age coordination within the plans.

Also: It may be helpful to see a document from the last round of plans in 2019 comparing language in 3 state draft plans.And the Afterschool Alliance reviewed state's mandatory consumer education websites in March 2019 and created a resource on what to look for in consumer education websities from a school-age childcare perspective found here.

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

Additional Resouces: