Family Guide to CCDF
The CCDF helps low-income families get child care.
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) federal program helps families so that they may work, attend training or continue their education. It aims to increase the availability, affordability and quality of child care.
Considering your child care options?
Check out these resources that help you make the most of your CCDF voucher.
Indiana child care search supports can help you find a program that fits your family needs, including location, fees, preferred Paths to QUALITY level (reminder: higher levels mean higher CCDF reimbursement rates). Online, visit Child Care Finder or start a chat conversation below. On the phone, call Brighter Futures Indiana at 1-800-299-1627.
Families can visit EarlyEdConnect.FSSA.IN.gov to start the application process for CCDF.
Additionally, every Indiana county is served by a CCDF intake agency. Curious about what happens at a CCDF intake appointment? They’ll help you get started. You’ll also get information about the provider you’ve chosen. Plus, you’ll have the chance to chat about other services available to many Hoosiers.
Scroll down to learn more about the ways CCDF is changing in 2018 and beyond. Updates include enhanced consumer education, an improved consumer statement, updated suspension and expulsion policies, and new eligibility guidance.
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Exciting CCDF Changes Take Effect October 1, 2018
On October 1, 2018, Indiana will make a number of changes to the CCDF program. These updates are the result of new federal requirements. Many changes aim to make the program more family-friendly.
The FSSA’s Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning, which oversees CCDF in Indiana, will share the updates throughout 2018. Visit this site in summer and fall 2018 to keep up-to-date!
In Indiana, CCDF eligibility is changing due to new federal rules. These rules focus on creating policies that support families and ensure consistent care. As a CCDF family, these rules may impact services and outreach you receive. Overall, they make CCDF a more family-friendly experience.
CCDF co-payments can’t go up during one eligibility period.
Your CCDF co-payments may not be raised during the eligibility period (53 weeks).
Example: A family gets a new job making more money. Even with the increased income, CCDF co-payments do not go up during that eligibility period. So, the current co-pay stays the same until re-determination.
Services do not stop immediately at age 13.
Children turning 13 years old during the eligibility period can stay on the CCDF program through the end of the eligibility period.
Example: A family is approved for CCDF in June. Their child turns 13 in February of the next year. Though 13 years is the normal cut-off age for CCDF, the child continues to receive services until the eligibility period ends. So, the child is not immediately removed from the program after turning 13.
Excessive absences can result in CCDF services ending.
The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning can stop services due to excessive absences. Services can be stopped after attempts to contact a family for excessive unexplained absences and 60 days of non-swipe activity.
Example: A child is not swiped into their CCDF provider for several weeks. The Office of Early Childhood and Out-of-School Learning tries to contact the family. But the family does not respond. Then, the family can lose their CCDF services after 60 days.
Families changing their county of residence do not need to reapply.
If a family moves from one Indiana county to another within the eligibility period, the family does not need to reapply. They also do not need to have their eligibility re-determined. CCDF vouchers transfer to the new county and program when chosen.
Example: A family moves from Marion County to Hamilton County in November. They were determined eligible in June, prior to moving. To continue CCDF services, they reach out to their current intake agent or the intake agent in the new county to complete a county transfer.
Legally Licensed Exempt Providers (LLEP):
All programs must have documentation showing that they have met CCDF provider eligibility requirements. Additionally, these documents must be visible to parents. All legally licensed exempt providers (LLEPs), including registered ministries, schools, centers and homes, will receive a CCDF certificate. They should be displayed in their programs.
Example: A family attends an LLEP registered ministry. With this new rule, they can expect to see a certificate posted within their center. Prior to this new rule, LLEP providers did not have to post certificates.
New CCDF Policies Focus on Consumer Supports
These updates focus on creating policies that help families understand the CCDF program and navigate care decisions. As a CCDF family, these policies aim to provide you with greater clarity about your experience with the program and about program quality overall.
Families with concerns or complaints have the right to share them – and they can do so readily.
CCDF policies require each state to have a hotline for families to share complaints about programs. The complaint hotline phone number is 1-800-299-1627. Families can find that number on a variety of websites, including Child Care Finder, Brighter Futures Indiana, and on all local child care resource and referrals websites. The Brighter Futures Indiana call center takes complaints at 1-800-299-1627.
To view substantiated complaints, families can visit ChildCareFinder.in.gov. Child Care Finder is available in English, Spanish, Burmese and German.
Families have new paths for learning about child development, program quality and state licensing processes.
CCDF rules require states to share information on a consumer-friendly and easily accessible website. This information should be targeted for use by families receiving CCDF assistance, the general public and early childhood programs. In Indiana, BrighterFuturesIndiana.org hosts all consumer education information.
The website has to provide access to the following information:
- State processes for licensing, monitoring and inspections, as well as completing criminal background checks
- Information on Paths to QUALITY™, including the levels and access to individual program participation status, including their level and if they do not participate
- Monitoring and inspection results for programs
- Number of deaths, serious injuries, and instances of substantiated child abuse that occurred in early childhood programs each year
- Information on research and best practices concerning: children’s development, social/emotional issues, and policies to prevent the suspension/expulsion of young children.
Brighter Futures Indiana is available in English and will be available in Spanish by October 2018.
When they choose a program, families receiving CCDF will immediately get a consumer statement. This will help them learn more about their programs quality, inspection history and CCDF policies.
CCDF rules require that each family receive a consumer statement when they use the program. The statement includes specific information about the early childhood program a family selects. At your family intake appointment, the statement is printed out. It includes the same information that you can find on ChildCareFinder.In.Gov about the program. The statement has the following general and specific information for families:
- How CCDF subsidies are designed to promote equal access
- How to submit a complaint about a program through the complaint hotline
- How families can contact their local child care resource and referral (CCR&R) agency and other community-based supports
- Date of last inspection for the selected program
- Any health and safety licensing violations within the last 15 months (violations are specific to the selected program)
- Quality standards met by the provider — for example, their Paths to QUALITY level or if they are participating
Families can view an example of the consumer statement by clicking here. Click here to see more!
New CCDF Policies Call for Clear Suspension & Expulsion Policies
This update focuses on ensuring that all CCDF-eligible programs in Indiana have clear policies regarding suspension and expulsion. These rule requirements aim to ensure positive social-emotional growth in all early education settings.
Requirements for all CCDF-Eligible Programs:
- Early education programs that are eligible for CCDF vouchers must have a policy on suspension and expulsion. Programs must share policies before families enroll. Additionally, all programs should update families on their policies at this time.
- These policies have to promote social-emotional growth. They need to include age-appropriate positive behavior supports. Programs also have to limit – or eliminate – any disciplinary approaches that focus on excluding children. That includes expulsion, suspension and other practices that remove children from learning.
- Program policies must clearly define a process for managing challenging behaviors. For behaviors that cannot be managed using ordinary classroom strategies, clear steps must be defined. A child cannot be expelled for behavioral challenges unless those procedures have been followed.
- Suspension and expulsion due to non-payment is a separate issue. It is not covered by this rule.
- Programs’ policies on suspension and expulsion will be checked in on by the state’s licensing system. Indiana’s licensing consultants regularly visit regulated programs. In any visit after October 1, 2018, programs are expected to be able to share their policy with consultants.
For programs: if there are any questions about creating a policy, the state has created supports. A guidance tool for programs has been developed to assist with the creation of a suspension and expulsion policy. The OECOSL Suspension and Expulsion Policy Guidance for Programs is posted on OECOSL’s website and here on the Brighter Futures Indiana’s website. Indiana’s local child care resource and referral agencies can also provide help on meeting this update.