Implementation of 24 month child care eligibility

Effective January 1, 2023, the minimum eligibility period for certain child care programs is extended to 24 months.  The effected programs are:

  • General Child Care and Development Programs (CCTR)
  • California Family Child Care Home Education Networks (CFCC)
  • Migrant Child Care and Development Programs (CMIG)
  • Migrant Child Care Alternative Payment Programs (CMAP)
  • California Alternative Payment Programs (CAPP)
  • Child Care and Development Services for Children with Special Needs (CHAN)

The 24 month eligibility does not apply to CalWORKs Stage 1, 2, or 3 child care.

The 24 month period is not retroactive to before January 1, 2023.  Certifications entered into prior to January 1, 2023 remain in effect.

Child care and development programs remain available until age 13.  If a child turns 13 within the first 12 months of the eligibility period, eligibility is only for 12 months.

Families enrolled on or after January 1, 2023 must receive services for at least 24 months before recertification and are not required to report most changes.  However, families must report income that exceeds the threshold for ongoing income eligibility.  Families can voluntarily report changes that extend their eligibility.

If a family’s 24-month eligibility ends before the end of a California State Preschool Program program year, eligibility extends to the end of the program year, as long as age eligibility requirements are met.

The California Department of Social Services must develop implementing regulations by December 31, 2024.  (CCB 22-37, December 30, 2023, and 22-37E, March 10, 2023

End of child care flexibility for COVID-19

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance regarding the end of child care flexibilities for COVID-19 effective June 30, 2023.

Effective July 1, 2023, provider will no longer be able to bill for non-operational days because of COVID-19 closures.

The statewide waiver of family fees expires on June 30, 2023.  Contractors must resume collecting family fees effective July 1, 2023.

Effective July 1, 2023, providers and contractors will be reimbursed in accordance with pre-COVID-19 attendance and reporting requirements.

Contractors must issue notices of action to the parent when changes are made to the service agreement, including an increase or decrease in family fees.  Due process requires suspending any action while an appeal is pending.  (CCB 23-09, April 13, 2023.)

Exclusion of foster care and guaranteed income payments for child care eligibility

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) has issued guidance and information on the exclusion of foster care payments and guaranteed income payments when determining eligibility for subsidized child care and development programs. CDSS will implement these changes via childcare bulletin immediately until regulations are adopted, and these changes are effective immediately.

Foster care payments, Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Program payments, Emergency Assistance Program payments, and Tribal Approved Relative Caregiver Funding Program payments are no longer counted as income when determining eligibility for subsidized child care.

Guaranteed income payments received by an individual will not be included as income when determining eligibility for subsidized child care. Guaranteed income payments are unconditional, recurring, regular cash payments, whether publicly or privately funded, that are intended to support the basic needs of eligible recipients. Guaranteed income payments include, but are not limited to, payments provided through pilot programs and projects receiving funding from the California Guaranteed Income Pilot Program. (CCB 22-30, October 10, 2022.)

In-Home license-exempt child care

The California Department of Social Services has provided new policy guidance regarding the use of in-home licensed-exempt child care.  CalWORKs Stage One child care already allows license-exempt in-home child care.  Effective immediately, CalWORKs Stage Two, CalWORKs Stage Three, Alternative Payment Programs and Migrant Alternative Payment Programs must also authorize allows license-exempt in-home child care.  Families must sign a form assuming employer responsibilities for the in-home license-exempt provider and acknowledge they must comply with any applicable federal and state employment laws.

Contractors must promote parental choice and provide translations of the form in a language that the parent understands.  (CCB 22-13, June 23, 2022.)

Expiration of COVID-19 child care flexibilities

Several child care flexibilities because of COVID-19 expired on June 30, 2022.  The requirement for providers to collect parent signatures on daily attendance records is reinstated effective July 1, 2022.

Providers can no longer bill for nonoperational days because of COVID 19 effective July 1, 2022.  Providers still can be reimbursed for 10 paid nonoperational days if the have documentation of the contractual terms that they use for non-subsidized children in their care which require payment for non-operational days.

Temporary emergency vouchers for children of essential workers, at-risk children, and children with disabilities or special healthcare needs whose individualized education plan or family service plans include early learning and care expired on June 30, 2022.  Families with emergency child care vouchers have first priority for enrollment into ongoing child care services in CAPP and CMAP.

Contractors must issue notices of action to the parent when changes are made to the service agreement.  This includes an increase or decrease in the amount of services, or termination of service.  Contractors must issue a notice of action to families transitioning from temporary emergency child care to ongoing child care to inform them of their 12-month eligibility.  Providers must also be issued a notice on the same day the notice of action is issued to the family.  (CCB 22-15, June 30, 2022.)

Stage One Child Care eligibility age

Stage One child care is available to every CalWORKs participant with a dependent child in the household who is age 12 or younger.  Children who reach age 13 are generally ineligible for subsidized child care.  Children with exceptional needs or severe disabilities may receive child care through age 21.  Children who are under court supervision can receive Stage One Child Care to age 18.

Children who certified for child care prior to their thirteenth birthday may receive child care for 12 months.  Contractors cannot disenroll a child when they turn age thirteen during the 12-month eligibility period and must allow the child to continue in subsidized child care until the family’s next recertification.  Counties must give families a Notice of Action stating the duration of eligibility that includes an end date of eligibility which must be through the 12-month eligibility period.  (Child Care Bulletin 22-04, January 13, 2022.)