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New ACF Guidance on CCDF Waivers

News May 6, 2024

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recently released guidance on the 2024 CCDF Final Rule Transitional Waivers. In March 2024, ACF finalized a new rule that will strengthen key policies in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) – the program that includes the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This rule makes changes to the program that seek to lower costs for families, increase the financial stability of child care providers, and make it easier for families to enroll in subsidized child care programs.

The 2024 Final Rule goes into effect on April 30, 2024. However, the Office of Child Care (OCC) recognizes that it may take Lead Agencies some additional time to fully implement these changes. Lead Agencies can apply for temporary waivers from provisions in certain circumstances for no more than two years. Provisions that are eligible for a waiver include: 

  • Capping co-payments at 7% of family income
  • Paying providers prospectively
  • Using enrollment-based payment
  • Using some grants or contracts for direct services for infants and toddlers, children with disabilities, and children in underserved geographic areas
  • Posting full monitoring reports which must include compliances and non-compliances and cannot be a blank checklist

All waivers will expire August 1, 2026, unless the Lead Agency requests an earlier date.

Starting from May 1, 2024, up until November 30, 2024, Lead Agencies have the opportunity to request transitional and legislative waivers related to specific provisions mandated by the 2024 Final Rule. If granted, these waivers will temporarily relieve Lead Agencies from having to fulfill certain CCDF requirements. Beginning with the FFY 2025-2027 CCDF Plan, Lead Agencies must comply with new regulations established in the 2024 Final Rule, in addition to existing regulations. Lead Agencies must fully complete their 2025-2027 CCDF plans even if they are applying for waivers. 

There are specific requirements for waiver requests and restrictions on what can be waived. More guidance on transitional and legislative waivers can be found here

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