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Child Care Aware® of America Report Shows Snapshot of Child Care Landscape Nationally and At State Level

August 07, 2018

Washington, DC – Today, Child Care Aware® of America released its 2018 Checking In: A Snapshot of the Child Care Landscape, a report that summarizes the supply and demand for child care in each state, the average cost of licensed and accredited child care, and the services provided by Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies. The report also sheds light on state Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) and other statewide initiatives, resulting in findings that show a positive return on investment for quality child care and the overall health and wellness of children.

Highlights from the report include national data on the child care workforce and resources as well, including:

  • Nearly 15 million children under six are in need of child care
  • Total child care workforce in 2017 was 562,420, a 10,000 person decrease from 2016
  • CCR&Rs in 31 states track requests for non-traditional hours
  • CCR&Rs fielded over one million referral requests, serving 443,087 families

“The evidence is clear--children who participate in high-quality programs during their early years demonstrate lasting effects in IQ, boosted academic and economic achievement and lower instances of childhood obesity and chronic illness,” said Dr. Lynette Fraga, Ph.D, executive director of Child Care Aware® of America. “Help for families struggling to pay for child care is pivotal to supporting access to quality child care across the country, as our report today shows. The CCR&R networks are working to serve as many families as possible, but ultimately, there needs to be continued investment in our state systems, as well as increased funding to support a well-qualified early education workforce. Our country must recognize the value of child care as a setting in which early childhood education is already occurring, as well as a vital support for many working families. Recognizing these values will enable our country to remain competitive in the 21st-century global economy.”

Research on early childhood education indicates that quality child care, for the first five years of a child’s life, provides a solid foundation for future success and has long-term academic and social benefits for the child and for society. In addition, economists have shown that investing in high-quality child care has proven to result in a 13 percent return on that investment, per child. Families without access to quality child care due to high cost, irregular work hours, or inadequate supply, are at an extreme disadvantage; their children and our society lose out.

Based on our findings and the ever-expanding portfolio of literature on the effectiveness and positive return on investment for quality child care, Child Care Aware® of America recommends a $1 billion increase in Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) discretionary funding over FY 2018 funding levels. This investment would help hundreds of thousands of children gain access to high-quality child care.

CCoA released the Parents and the High Cost of Child Care report, which found that child care is unaffordable across the United States. In 41 states and the District of Columbia, the average cost of center-based care for an infant exceeds 10 percent of state median income for a married couple with children. With more than 11 million children under age five in some form of child care, parents across America are struggling to make ends meet.

Check out this year’s state fact sheets  to learn more about your state’s child care landscape. Despite the historic increase in CCDBG funding, states need ongoing and consistent funding in order to make long-term improvements to child care systems that will increase access to high-quality, affordable child care for all families.

For more information about Child Care Aware® of America’s data and research contact us at


About Child Care Aware® of America

Child Care Aware® of America is our nation’s leading voice for child care. CCAoA works with state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and other community partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. CCAoA leads projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offer comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. To learn more, visit Follow them on Twitter @USAChildCare and on Facebook at


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Topics: Policy & Advocacy, News

Rae Pickett

Written by Rae Pickett

RaeAnn is the Sr. Manager of Public Relations at CCAoA. Her work has solidified relationships with outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Univision, NPR, O, The Oprah Magazine, TIME, CNN Espanol, Buzzfeed News, POLITICO The Miami Herald, The San Antonio Express-News, ImpreMedia and many state and local ventures.