Buffet Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Daro, A., Welch, G.W., & Bryant, V. (2022). 2023 Nebraska Child Care Market Rate Survey. University of Nebraska: Buffett Early Childhood Institute.


Copyright © 2022 Buffett Early Childhood Institute.


The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 was reauthorized with renewed emphasis on the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, which seeks to provide equal access to quality child care for families. The CCDF program is necessary to ensure children from families with lower income have the opportunity to experience stable, high-quality early experiences while their parents experience a pathway to economic stability. A primary goal of the CCDF program is to ensure that families with lower income receive CCDF funds to help them access quality child care in the same manner as families that pay the full rate for child care services (Davis et al., 2017). The CCDBG Act requires lead agencies to inform families receiving CCDF assistance, the general public, and child care providers of various aspects of the new law. Lead agencies are required to conduct a market rate survey or alternative methodology to establish provider payment rates. Various factors should be considered when provider payment rates are established to ensure children from families with lower income have equal access to high-quality child care. Federal regulations indicate that the 75th percentile payment rate is a benchmark for gauging equal access for families receiving subsidy. However, states/ territories are given the freedom to determine their own rates and eligibility requirements for families and programs. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is the CCDF lead agency in Nebraska. While the reauthorized CCDBG allows states to conduct a market rate survey every three years, state legislation requires that DHHS adjust the reimbursement rate for child care every odd-numbered year. For 2023, DHHS contracted with the Buffett Early Childhood Institute (referred to as the Institute throughout the remainder of this report) at the University of Nebraska to conduct a market rate survey (MRS) for child care in Nebraska. The 2023 MRS was designed to meet the following federal benchmarks: (a) includes the priced child care market; (b) provides complete and current data; (c) represents geographic variations; (d) uses rigorous data collection procedures; and (e) analyzes data in a manner that captures market differences as a function of age group, provider type, and geographic location (45 CFR § 98.4).