Does INCWELFR include Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) payments?

Are payments from the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) recorded in INCWELFR?

The program has a connection to TANF so INCWELFR seems a natural candidate to record them.

“States coordinate the CCDF program with Head Start, Early Head Start, prekindergarten, and other early childhood programs and can also transfer a portion of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program dollars to the CCDF program or can spend TANF program funds directly for child care needs.” Source

More background in the CCDF:
The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) “is a federal and state partnership program (over $5 billion in federal funding) authorized under the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act (CCDBG) and administered by states, territories, and tribes with funding and support from the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Child Care.” Source

The sources of income included in the INCWELFR variable have changed over time, as detailed in the comparability section of the variable. You can view ASEC questionnaire text from 2009 to 2022. In those samples, respondents are asked about “cash assistance.” From my brief reading on the CCDF, it does not seem that families receive cash assistance from the fund. They may receive child care grants—but such grants are not cash assistance because they cannot be used like cash. Child care grants or vouchers can only be used towards child care, unlike assistance from TANF, for instance, which acts as cash.

That said, respondents report their own calculations of how much cash assistance they received for the INCWELFR variable. A respondent may erroneously omit or include various sources of assistance. Self-reported income variables will always include errors, and it is impossible to say whether families interpreted the question corresponding to the INCWELFR variable to include child care assistance.

I am sure you were hoping for a more definitive answer. Please follow up with additional questions.

1 Like

Thanks @Isabel_Pastoor !

Self-reported transfers are always challenging to understand. Your reference to grants vs cash is very helpful in this context.