COVID-19 child care for essential workers and at risk populations

The California Department of Education (CDE) has issued guidance regarding emergency child care for essential workers and at risk populations.  In addition to serving current families, contractors may enroll new families in emergency child care in this priority order if they are: 1) an at risk population including (A) children who are receiving child protective services or who have been deemed to be at risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation, (B) children eligible through the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children, (C) families experiencing homelessness, or (D) children of domestic violence survivors; 2) deemed to be an essential worker including (A) health care/public health and emergency services, (B) food and agriculture, teachers, education staff, providers of early learning and care services, state and local government workers, communications and information technology, energy, transportation and logistics, critical manufacturing, hazardous materials, financial services, and chemical sector, (C) all other fields listed on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers document, , or 3) families with children with disabilities or special heal care needs who have individualized education plans or individual family support plans that include early learning and care programs.  Essential workers whose total family income exceeds the current income eligibility threshold are lowest priority.

All current families have the option to stay in care or return to care before any new essential families are enrolled.

Children enrolled in emergency child care can only be provided services through June 30, 2020.  If the provider has served all groups eligible for emergency child care and has space in their program, they can serve private paying essential workers, but must consider that they must resume serving all children receiving subsidies that are currently enrolled.

For essential workers to be eligible and the family is a two-parent household, both parents must either be essential workers or one must be unable to provide care because of incapacity.  The family must require child care to perform their essential work and they cannot complete their work remotely.

For children with disabilities or special health needs, the family must self-certify that status.

Families must apply for emergency child care using a new application form. and self-certification form. Contractors must allow digital signatures, electronic submission of applications and supporting documents.

CDE also issued various changes to capacity guidelines because of COVID-19.  (MB 20-06, April, 2020.)