States Increased Spending on Low-Income Families
GAO-01-293, Feb 2, 2001
Nationwide, states reported that federal and state expenditures for child care under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) block grant and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant grew from $4.1 billion in fiscal year 1997 to $6.9 billion in fiscal year 1999 and totaled over $16 billion in constant fiscal year 1997 dollars for this three-year period. More than half of the children whose child care was subsidized with CCDF funds were cared for in centers, and CCDF subsidies for all types of care were primarily provided through vouchers. Eligible parents who were subsidized by CCDF were offered a choice of receiving a voucher to pay a provider of their choosing or using a provider who had a contract with the state. More than half of all the states gave TANF and former TANF families transitioning to work first or second priority for receiving child care subsidies while other eligible low-income families were assigned lower priorities. Officials reported that their states funded the child care needs of their TANF and former TANF families transitioning to work, and were serving all of these families who requested child care assistance. However, some of these officials were concerned that their states' funding levels were not sufficient to serve all other low-income families who were eligible for aid.