Budget and Funding

Federal Budget and Appropriations

To understand child care funding, it is important to understand the steps in the budgeting process. Each February, the President submits a budget proposal to Congress. Congress considers the President’s budget recommendations and develops a budget resolution, which is a blueprint for committees to follow in making spending recommendations. Once the budget resolution is adopted (it is not signed into law, it is a management tool for Congress), the appropriations process begins where 12 appropriations committees consider programs within their jurisdiction and approve legislation. This is supposed to happen before the end of the fiscal year (September 30). Congress does not always complete action on the appropriations bills before the new fiscal year begins October 1. To keep the government operating, Congress passes what is a called a Continuing Resolution (CR). A CR provides budget authority for federal agencies and programs to continue in operation until the regular appropriations acts are enacted. Sometimes, several CRs are necessary before all funding decisions are made and enacted.

Child care funding is contained in the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill. Child care funding is complicated because it is also comprised of funding transferred from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Up to 30 percent of TANF funding can be transferred by a state to child care. States can spend any amount of funding directly on child care from TANF. The following documents contain the latest child care funding information.

Child Care and Development Block Grant Funding:

State Budget Issues: