The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is the law that governs federal child care assistance for low-income families, is intended to protect the health and safety of children in child care and afterschool services. CCDBG was originally included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 and signed into law by President H.W. Bush.

The program was reauthorized with the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. At that time, several other child care programs were consolidated under section 418 of the Social Security Act as a mandatory funding stream, but CCDBG remained a separate, discretionary program. Both the mandatory and discretionary funding streams, however, were subject to the requirements of CCDBG.[1] The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has designated the combined funding as the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, and many use CCDF and CCDBG interchangeably.

President Barack Obama signed the most recent reauthorization of the law in 2014; it includes several updates that could result in big changes for the program, though it gives states a great deal of discretion in how they distribute federal funds.  Typically states use the funds to reimburse child care centers for the costs of operating, and often this happens by providing vouchers to qualifying parents who meet the states’ definition of low-income. The 2014 law  standardized how often states require parents to be reassessed for eligibility for CCDBG vouchers, changed the reimbursement rates that states pay to child care providers, and includes new provisions for ensuring children’s safety.[2]


  1. Office of Child Care, “CCDF Reauthorization Frequently Asked Questions,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, March 25, 2015.

  2. Clare McCann, “CCDBG Reauthorization Bill to Be Law of the Land,” EdCentral, November 17, 2014.