November 8, 2019

Pennsylvania Announces 2019 Market Rate Survey

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) invites all Pennsylvania certified child care providers to participate in the 2019 Market Rate Survey.


Every three years, states conduct a Market Rate Survey (MRS) to update information regarding the prices child care providers charge families. With the last official MRS conducted in 2016, OCDEL invites all certified child care providers in Pennsylvania to submit their published private pay rates. By providing this information, child care providers help OCDEL paint a more accurate picture of child care prices in Pennsylvania and will provide an important database to compare private pay prices with the Child Care Works reimbursement base rates.

How to Participate

The survey is available online from October 7 through December 30, 2019 within the PELICAN Provider Self-Service Portal. Participation will require a username and password to enter. For assistance on enrolling in Provider Self-Service or updating your child care prices if you do not have access to Provider Self-Service, contact your local Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC).

Information from all child care providers is important, even if your private pay prices have not changed. If your prices remained the same, please update the “effective date” within the Provider Self-Service Portal. Any changes made between October 7 and December 30, 2019 will be included.

Click here for instructions on how to complete the Survey using Provider Self-Service.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Market Rate Survey?

In order to comply with federal requirements and continue to draw down federal dollars from the Child Care Development Block Grant for the operation of the Child Care Works (CCW) child care subsidy program, OCDEL is required to complete a periodic Market Rate Survey (MRS). The MRS collects information from all regulated child care providers about their published private pay rates. Providers should participate in the MRS and confirm or report updates to their private pay rates using Provider Self Service (PSS) or, if not enrolled in PSS, by contacting their Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC).

What does the term “market rate” mean?

The “market rate” is interpreted as the rate which families are asked to pay, and which is published in program literature. The market rate does not reflect any discounts.

Will I be audited for updating my published rates?

Probably not. OCDEL has required verification in the past, and ELRCs have on occasion called a sampling of providers to check, but this is not the plan for this year’s MRS. However, providers should still only share published rates that they can verify if needed, and is the rate charged to most families.

What qualifies as a “discount?”

“Discounts” reflect allowances for families to pay a lower rate. For example, Comcast advertises its rate to clients, but frequently offers specials and discounts for loyal customers and new clients. Child care providers who typically charge $100 but who can offer discounts and specials to lower the price to $80 should still report their rate as $100. The MRS is not designed to capture any discounts that individual providers may choose to offer; it captures ONLY a provider’s published private pay rate.

What do they mean by “published?”

“Publishing” includes your website, your family handbook, any written contracts, or the rate visible on COMPASS.

What is the Child Care Works (CCW) reimbursement rate?

The Child Care Works (CCW) reimbursement rate is the rate that providers are reimbursed by the state for providing care to children who are eligible for CCW. This rate is based on the current market rate as provided through the MRS and is determined in part during the appropriations process. Because many providers also serve children who are not eligible for CCW reimbursement, providers must maintain a separate market rate for private pay families, and report this rate when completing their MRS rather than the CCW reimbursement rate.

Why participate in the Market Rate Survey?

It is important that each provider updates their private pay rates so that OCDEL has the necessary data to consider future Child Care Works base rate increases.

Learn More

To learn more, view the full announcement or contact your local ELRC.

*Information provided by OCDEL