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Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies Database, United States, 2009-2017 (ICPSR 37199)

Version Date: Jan 8, 2019 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Sarah Minton, Urban Institute; Linda Giannarelli, Urban Institute


Version V1

For the most recent Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies Database, please visit the CCDF Policies Database site. ICPSR plans to release the 2018 CCDF Policies Database in February.

The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides federal money to States and Territories to provide assistance to low-income families receiving or in transition from temporary public assistance, to obtain quality child care so they can work, attend training, or receive education. Within the broad federal parameters, states and territories set the detailed policies. Those details determine whether a particular family will or will not be eligible for subsidies, how much the family will have to pay for the care, how families apply for and retain subsidies, the maximum amounts that child care providers will be reimbursed, and the administrative procedures that providers must follow. Thus, while CCDF is a single program from the perspective of federal law, it is in practice a different program in every state and territory.

The CCDF Policies Database project is a comprehensive, up-to-date database of inter-related sources of CCDF policy information that support the needs of a variety of audiences through (1) Analytic Data Files, (2) a Book of Tables, and (3) a project website and search tool. These are made available to researchers, administrators, and policymakers with the goal of addressing important questions concerning the effects of alternative child care subsidy policies and practices on the children and families served, specifically parental employment and self-sufficiency, the availability and quality of care, and children's development. A description of the Data Files, Book of Tables, and Project Website and Search Tool is provided below:

1. Detailed, longitudinal Analytic Data Files of CCDF policy information for all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and United States Territories that capture the policies actually in effect at a point in time, rather than proposals or legislation. They focus on the policies in place at the start of each fiscal year, but also capture changes during that fiscal year. The data are organized into 32 categories with each category of variables separated into its own dataset. The categories span five general areas of policy including:

  • Eligibility Requirements for Families and Children (Datasets 1-5)
  • Family Application, Terms of Authorization, and Redetermination (Datasets 6-13)
  • Family Payments (Datasets 14-18)
  • Policies for Providers, Including Maximum Reimbursement Rates (Datasets 19-27)
  • Overall Administrative and Quality Information Plans (Datasets 28-32)
  • The information in the Data Files is based primarily on the documents that caseworkers use as they work with families and providers (often termed "caseworker manuals"). The caseworker manuals generally provide much more detailed information on eligibility, family payments, and provider-related policies than the documents submitted by states and territories to the federal government. The caseworker manuals also provide ongoing detail for periods in between submission dates.

    Each dataset contains a series of variables designed to capture the intricacies of the rules covered in the category. The variables include a mix of categorical, numeric, and text variables. Every variable has a corresponding notes field to capture additional details related to that particular variable. In addition, each category has an additional notes field to capture any information regarding the rules that is not already outlined in the category's variables.

    2. The Book of Tables is available as nine datasets (Datasets 33-41) and they present key aspects of the differences in CCDF funded programs across all states and territories as of October 1, 2017. The Book of Tables includes variables that are calculated using several variables from the Data Files (Datasets 1-32). The Book of Tables summarizes a subset of the information available in the Data Files, and includes information about eligibility requirements for families; application, redetermination, priority, and waiting list policies; family co-payments; provider policies and reimbursement rates; and select administration and quality development information. In many cases, a variable in the Book of Tables will correspond to a single variable in the Data File. Usually, the variable options used in the Book of Tables will match the variable options in the Data File. In some cases, the wording of the variable options may have been slightly modified for the tables.

    3. The Project Website and Search Tool provides access to a point-and-click user interface. Users can select from the full set of public data to create custom tables. The website also provides access to the full range of reports and products released under the CCDF Policies Database project.

    The Project Website/Search Tool and the Data Files provide a more detailed set of information than what the Book of Tables provides, including a wider selection of variables and policies over time.

    Minton, Sarah, and Giannarelli, Linda. Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Policies Database, United States, 2009-2017. Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2019-01-08.

    Export Citation:

    • RIS (generic format for RefWorks, EndNote, etc.)
    • EndNote
    United States Department of Health and Human Services. Administration for Children and Families. Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation

    State level data in most cases, with select county level data for some states.

    Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
    2009 -- 2017
    2009-01-01 -- 2018-05-31

    Data are provided in Excel, SPSS, SAS, Stata, and R formats. Due to limitations in the statistical packages, all notes variables and any variables containing qualitative data (greater than 244 characters) are available in Microsoft Excel format only. (Note: the Excel files are located in the Other folder on the data and documentation download page.)

    The documentation is comprised of codebooks (one per dataset) that provide summary statistics, frequencies, and variable descriptions and a User Guide that provides a detailed description of the CCDF Policies Database project, Data Files, and Book of Tables including general notes and concepts, specific comments on issues with particular datasets and more.

    In general, each variable has a corresponding NOTES field to capture additional details related to that particular variable. Each dataset has an additional overall Notes field to capture any information regarding the rules that are not already outlined in the variables.

    Project Director: Linda Giannarelli

    Project Co-Director: Sarah Minton

    Additional Research Staff: Victoria Tran and Kelly Dwyer

    Reports based on this data collection are available at the Administration for Children and Families and The Urban Institute websites.

    To create a comprehensive, up-to-date database of child care subsidy policies for all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Unites States territories, and from that information to create books of tables and analytic files that will be accessible and useable by researchers and other analysts.

    Information was coded into the database based on a review of child care subsidy policy manuals. The information that was compiled was submitted to state and territory contacts for verification. In states with substantial within-state policy variation -- and different policy manuals for different areas/counties -- the policy manual for the largest area/county was used.

    This collection included data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and United States territories. No sampling was used.


    The information about the policies in effect for each of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, and the United States Territories.

    States and territories
    administrative records data

    Criteria for Application and Eligibility; Definitions of Family and Income; Asset Tests Verification; Redetermination; Requirements for reporting Changes; Appeals; Terms of Authorization; Priority and Waiting List Policies; Copay Exemptions Adjustments, Administration, Income Thresholds and Amount; Reimbursement Rates and Policies; Policies for Legally Unregulated Home-Based Providers; Administration; Program and Professional Development; Quality; Early Learning Guidelines


    2019-01-08 ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

    • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

    The data are not weighted, and no weight variables are present in the collection.


    • The public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

    CFDA logo

    This study is maintained and distributed by the Child and Family Data Archive (C&F Data Archive). C&F Data Archive hosts datasets about young children, their families and communities, and the programs that serve them. The C&F Data Archive is supported by Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation (OPRE), an office of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.