COVID-19 Trustline registration period

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has extended the period for TrustLine child care registration to 180 days because of COVID-19.  Effective April 4, 2020, prospective license- exempt child care providers who are required to be TrustLine registered before child care payments can be made to receive retroactive payment for up to 180 days prior to the date of fingerprinting.  (ACWDL, April 23, 2020.)

COVID-19 guidance for child care R&Rs and LPCs

The California Department of Education (CDE) has issued guidance for child care Resource and Referral (R&R) programs and Local Planning Councils about requirements because of COVID-19.  R&Rs and LPCs must remain open and operate virtually.  They must be available to assist in county development of emergency child care for essential workers and to help coordinate early learning and care programs, providers and families searching for care.

R&Rs are the lead coordinator of emergency supply, demand and referral and response for each county unless the county appoints another agency.  By April 30, 2020, R&Rs and LPCs must update their emergency response plans for staffing and continuity of services to include COVID-19 guidelines.

All R&R programs must work with their licensed providers to collect or update information on each provider’s status, capacity and vacancy at least twice per week and submit that data to the the state.  That data will be made public here.

With CDE’s approval, R&Rs can support purchases of essential commodities and supplies for local child care providers.  (MB 20-07, April 15, 2020.)

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

This Management Bulletin is rescinded and replaced by Management Bulletin 20-14, summarized here.

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 20-06A, April, 2020. [link removed by CDE].)

CalWORKs Stage One child care informing notices

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued instructions regarding frequency of providing the Child Care Request Form and Child Care Payment Rules (CCP 7).  This notice must be provided by counties when there is 1) new participation in a program activity, 2) an increase of 20 hours of participation or more in a program activity, 3) new earned income, and 4) new employment.

The welfare department computer systems will look back 30 days from the date of the participant’s report to determine if the CCP 7 has been sent.  If a CCP 7 has not been sent in the last 30 days, it will be sent.  (All County Welfare Directors Letter, February 3, 2020.)

CalWORKs Stage One child care notices of action

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued instructions regarding changes to required notices of action for Stage One child care.  These changes reflect the new immediate and continuous CalWORKS child care rules.

The notice of Child Care Services Approval (NA 832) is changed to 1) add an option to approve child care for 12 months or until the participant transfers to Stage Two child care or is otherwise ineligible; 2) inform exempt volunteers that continuing child care depends on signing a Welfare-to-Work plan, but the participant remains eligible for child care even if they do not participate in the activity; 3) revise child care reimbursement language regarding the TrustLine process.

The notice of Child Care Change (NA 833) is changed to 1) clarify that child care will only be reimbursed for time that services are rendered, and 2) add language regarding the TrustLine process.

The notice of Child Care Denial (NA 834) is changed to 1) add as a reason for denial that a participant is exempt from Welfare-to-Work, not currently participating in Welfare-to-Work, and does not intent to participate and 2) include new language about sanctioned cases.

The notice of Child Care Discontinuance (NA 835) is changed to add reasons for discontinuance that the participant meets the county definition of stable and is being transferred to Stage Two, that child authorization will end in six months, and that the participant did not submit documents required to renew child care.  (All County Letter 20-03, February 3, 2020.)

COVID-19 child care facility waivers

The California Department of Education (CDE) has issued an emergency waiver for operation of temporary employer sponsored child care.  An employer that needs to immediately provide temporary employer sponsored child care may do so under the waiver if all terms of the waiver are met including that the employer contact their child care regional office for approval, that care be available only for children of the employer and officers, managers and employees of the employer, and the child care setting have age appropriate equipment.

CDSS has also waived child care facility and TrustLine provider requirements.  A family child care home, day care center, school-age center or infant care center may waive staff to children ratios as long as health and safety of children is not compromised.  The ratio of child to staff in a family child care home shall be no more than 10:1.

A child care facility, not including a large family child care home, may waive capacity requirements if there is an immediate need for child care in the facility’s area because of school closures as a result of COVID-19, as long as staffing remains sufficient to meet the health and safety needs of children in care.  Capacity for small child care homes shall not exceed 14 children.

A TrustLine provider may care for children of more than one family at a time as long as the provider is able to meet the needs of children in care and capacity does not exceed a ratio of children to provider of 10:1.

New staff at a licensed facility, or a new TrustLine provider, may start caring for children immediately upon submission of a request to transfer a current CDSS criminal record clearance or exemption, and child abuse clearance.

New staff at a licensed facility can begin caring for children upon submission of a criminal record clearance and child abuse clearance from a school district, state or local government agency.  Within 5 days of starting work, the new staff must LiveScan.

New staff may start working immediately if they submit proof of TB clearance within the last year.  New staff must arrange to obtain current TB clearance.

New staff may start work as soon as they provide proof of completion of first aid training.  New staff shall be trained on specific tasks they will be performing and may not be unsupervised while children are present.  Initial training requirements must be met within 30 days of starting employment.

Application fees for TrustLine registration are waived.

These waivers shall remain in effect until the end of the Governor’s Proclamation of State of Emergency.  (PIN 20-004-CCP, March 16, 2020.)