The government and private institutions help to support the children of low income families with grant programs that provide for development and expansion of day care options. For many families, the inaccessibility of affordable and safe child care can be a barrier to escaping poverty. In order to solve this program, the government awards grants and disbursements to state agencies, non-profit institutions and for-profit child care operations. Additionally, private foundations like the Low Income Investment Fund assist with planning needs for day care centers in low income neighborhoods.
Child Care Development Fund
The Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) is a program of the Administration of Children and Families that provides grant funding for day care. The CCDF provides the majority of its support in the form of block grants to state agencies, who then decide how to best use the funding. In fiscal year 2010, Congress allocated $5 billion through this program for day care facilities. Of this, at least $271 million is earmarked for uses that expand the quality of facilities for infants, toddlers and school-age care. In addition to child care providers, states are allowed to grant some of this funding directly to families in need in the form of vouchers that can be spent on child care.
Affordable Buildings for Children’s Development Fund
Some of the grant funding available to day care centers come from private foundations like the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF). The Low Income Investment Fund provides up to $20,000 in a single grant award to plan day care centers. The goal of this program is to seed new day care centers by providing both grant and loan assistance to cover start-up costs, feasibility studies, and market research. This grant is specifically targeted to operators of day care facilities in low income neighborhoods. This helps the grant program fulfill the Low Income Investment Fund's mission to alleviate poverty.
USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program
Another grant program that assists with child care needs is the USDA Child and Adult Care Food Program. The primary beneficiaries of this grant are children who are enrolled in nonresidential day care facilities. Grants are awarded to both private and public institutions that operate day care facilities. This grant's objective is to help reduce the costs of providing adequate nutrition to children in the facility's care. In order to participate, at least 25 percent of a for-profit day care center's attendees must be eligible for the free or reduced lunch program. Disbursements in this program are also available to assist children in after-school child care facilities that serve low-income areas.