COVID-19 end of emergency child care and new enrollment priorities

The California Department of Education (CDE) has issued guidance regarding the end of emergency child care and child care enrollment priorities.  Management Bulletin 20-06A, summarized here, is rescinded and replaced.

Essential workers families, at-risk populations, and children with disabilities or other health care needs, could receive emergency child care through June 30, 2020, or for 60 days following enrollment, whichever is later.  SB 98 extends this emergency child care for an additional 90 days.

Beginning July 1, 2020, there will be an additional 5,600 child care slots for families previously enrolled in emergency child care.

New enrollment in emergency child care cannot occur after June 30, 2020. Families who were receiving emergency child care and were disenrolled prior to July 1, 2020 may be reenrolled before July 15, 2020 without needing to provide additional eligibility and need documentation.

Families enrolled in emergency child care prior to June 30, 2020 have priority for enrollment into ongoing subsidized child care over any other family on the contractor’s waiting list.

CDE strongly encourages contractors to reach out to any families disenrolled from emergency child care to allow them to reenroll before July 15, 2020.

Contractors must provide written notice to families receiving emergency child care after June 30, 2020 if they will be required to pay a family fee effective July 1, 2020.

To the extent possible, beginning July 1, 2020, contractors must begin to transition children who are in enrolled in emergency child care into ongoing non-emergency child care. Families certified for ongoing child care shall receive services for no less than 12 months. (Management Bulletin 20-14, July 13, 2020.)

COVID-19 extension of child care for families at risk

In All County Welfare Directors Letter May 4, 2020, summarized here, the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) implemented extension of child care vouchers under the Foster Care Bridge program that would expire for 60 days because of COVID-19 until June 30, 2020.  CDSS has issued instructions extending this authority until August 4, 2020.  (All County Welfare Directors Letter, June 19, 2020.)

Updated child care income eligibility

The California Department of Education (CDE) has release updated income eligibility for state subsidized early learning and care programs.  CDE has also released the ranking table to determine a family’s income ranking for purposes of enrollment priorities for state subsidized early learning and care.  The new income levels are effective July 1, 2020.  (Management Bulletin 20-12, June 16, 2020.)

COVID-19 immediate and continuous Stage One child care eligibility

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided guidance regarding immediate and continuous Stage One child care eligibility in relation to COVID-19.  Any disruption in child care because of COVID-19 does not change the family’s child care authorization.  All new CalWORKs cases continue to be authorized for 12 months of full time child care even if Welfare-to-Work or other engagement activities are temporarily suspended.

CalWORKs families who were receiving campus child care and are currently in need of Stage One child care because of the closing of campus child care centers are eligible for immediate and continuous Stage One Child care.  (ACWDL, May 11, 2020.)

COVID-19 immediate and continuous child care for exempt and sanctioned participants

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has provided clarifications about immediate and continuous Stage One child care for exempt volunteers and sanctioned welfare-to-work (WTW) participants.  General information about immediate and continuous Stage One child care is in ACL 19-99, summarized here.

Clients who are exempt from WTW participation who express an intent to participate in WTW as an exempt volunteer are eligible for immediate and continuous Stage One child care.  An exempt individual’s expressed intent to volunteer to participate in WTW is sufficient to establish authorization for immediate and continuous Stage One child care.  This indication can be communicated in any manner (for example in writing, verbally, by phone or in person).

Exempt volunteers will need to sign a WTW plan to maintain child care.  Exempt volunteers will have 30 days to locate child care, and 30 days to sign a plan.  Depending on communication with the client, these 30 day time frames and run concurrently or sequentially.

Exempt volunteers authorized for immediate and continuous Stage One child care who sign a WTW plan will continue to receive child care for 12 months, regardless of their participation status after signing the plan.

Clients who were sanctioned prior to October 1, 2019 or sanctioned clients applying for child care after October 1, 2019 must be authorized to receive immediate and continuous child care upon expressing an intent to cure the sanction to the county.  The indication of intent to cure the sanction is sufficient to establish authorization for immediate and continuous Stage One child care.  This indication can be communicated in any manner (for example in writing, verbally, by phone or in person).

Sanctioned individuals shall not be required to sign a cure plan prior to receiving immediate and continuous Stage One child care.   Exempt volunteers will have 30 days to locate child care, and 30 days to sign a cure plan.  Depending on communication with the client, these 30 day time frames and run concurrently or sequentially.  For individuals who do not sign a cure plan, child care will be discontinued until the sanction client again indicates an intent to cure the sanction.  Sanctioned clients who sign a cure plan will be authorized for immediate and continuous Stage One child care without discontinuance regardless of their participation status after signing the plan. (ACIN I-15-20, May 6, 2020.)

COVID-19 ongoing child care for at-risk populations

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding child care services for the Emergency Child Care Bridge Program for Foster Children (Bridge Program) and other at-risk populations during the COVID-19 emergency.

Children at-risk should continue to receiving child care at the request of the caregiver or parent even if the caregiver or parent is not employed in a job designated as essential.

If a Bridge Program voucher is scheduled to expire during the emergency period, counties may extend the voucher for 60 days.  This flexibility is in place until June 30, 2020 or when the State of Emergency has ended, whichever is earlier.  When the family secures a long-term child care placement, the Bridge Program voucher is terminated.  (ACWDL, May 4, 2020.)