The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) provides child care subsidies to families with low incomes, helping them access affordable child care so that parents can work or participate in education or other approved activities. State agencies administering CCDF programs need estimates of how many families are eligible for assistance to help in planning and to understand what portion of program-eligible families are receiving subsidies.
One tool for estimating the number of families eligible for CCDF is microsimulation. Using the ATTIS microsimulation model, we apply Wisconsin’s actual CCDF eligibility policies to the families in the 2014 through 2018 American Community Survey data. We estimate that in Wisconsin, 175,500 children in 100,300 families are eligible to participate in CCDF in the average month. Those numbers suggest that about 18 percent of eligible children and 19 percent of eligible families received subsidies.
We also estimated eligibility in each of 31 substate areas in Wisconsin. Across the state, 19 percent of all the children in the age range for CCDF are eligible for CCDF-subsidized child care, but that varies from a low of 7 percent in the Moraine Lakes Urban area to a high of 30 percent in Milwaukee. State administrators can use the substate eligibility estimates to better understand cross-state variations in eligibility and program reach.