DHS Announces Increase to Child Care Rates

daycareImage by Jeniffer, Wai Ting Tan

PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services recently announced an upcoming increase to base rates paid to child care providers participating in Pennsylvania’s Child Care Works (CCW) program. Effective March 1, 2023, base rates will be increased to remain at the 60th percentile of the market rate for child care in a provider’s region based on newly-available data.

The initiative increases access to child care in the same communities where low-income families served through CCW live. Increasing base rates also helps child care providers who participate in the program to enhance services, invest in staff development and compensation, and promote overall quality of their child care program. The increase comes in response to the 2022 Market Rate Survey results.

“Early learning and child care programs are an invaluable resource that foster educational and social development for our youngest Pennsylvanians while allowing parents to work knowing their children are safe,” said Dr. Val Arkoosh, Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services. “We must continue to fortify this essential industry so it can continue to enrich our communities and build a foundation for learning for our children. This rate increase is a direct investment in our children’s futures and the people who dedicate their lives to this critical work.”

CCW base rates are set according to a federally-recognized market rate survey conducted every three years. The results of the surveys assist states in determining an appropriate level of reimbursement offered to providers participating in subsidized child care programs, and to keep parity with what providers charge for services. The most recent survey was completed in 2022 and reflects the challenging operating environment that child care providers have navigated through the pandemic and accompanying economic challenges. Increases to operational costs experienced by providers caused the current base rates to fall below the 60th percentile. Funding made available under the American Rescue Plan Act will support reestablishing rates at the 60th percentile.

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CCW helps make child care affordable and more accessible for low-income, working families so parents are able to work knowing their children are being cared for and learning in reliable and safe environments. Investments in rates paid for this program help support quality of care and the child care workforce across Pennsylvania’s entire child care system – helping our youngest Pennsylvanians access early learning programs that will benefit them throughout their lives.

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