The District of Columbia’s child care subsidy program, administered by DC’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), provides financial assistance to families with eligible children seeking access to child care while the parent(s) or guardian(s) work or attend job training or educational programs. While the original purpose of DC’s subsidized child care program was solely to assist eligible families with child care costs, DC has recently shifted the purpose of the subsidized child care program to ensuring stability of care arrangements for children, in alignment with national trends, by making key changes that promote continuity of care and family-friendly policies.
On November 19, 2014, President Obama signed the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, effective November 19, 2014 (P.L. 113-16, 42. U.S.C. § 9858 et seq.) (CCDBG Act), reauthorizing the CCDBG Act for the first time since 1996. The new law made significant changes to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program, designed to promote children’s healthy development and safety, improve the quality of child care, and provide support for parents who are working or are in training or education. The CCDBG Act established the following priorities: increasing access to child care; reducing burden for families to obtain child care; and increasing access for special populations (including children experiencing homelessness, children with special needs, and families with very low income). Additionally, on September 30, 2016, the U.S. Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families issued a Notification of Final Rulemaking to amend CCDF regulations, 45 C.F.R. Part 98, based on the changes to the CCDBG Act.
Upon passage of the significant federal legislation, OSSE conducted a comprehensive review of the 2009 Policy Manual and determined the need to revise the guide to comply with the CCDBG Act, its implementing regulations and DC’s 2016-18 CCDF State Plan. All revisions and additions provided herein are effective September 30, 2016.
This manual, the “2016 Eligibility Determinations for Subsidized Child Care Policy Manual” (Policy Manual), is intended to help ensure consistent and accurate application and implementation of eligibility determination for children and their families by DC government agencies, including the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE)1 and Department of Human Services Child Care Services Division (DHS CCSD), and authorized Level II child development facilities.
An understanding of DC’s child care delivery system is critical to ensure appropriate application of the variables in determining eligibility and certifying children for placement in child development facilities. Accordingly, this guide sets forth the procedures and framework for the:
- Roles and responsibilities of the DHS CCSD caseworker and the Level II Child Development Facility eligibility staff in determining initial and continuing eligibility;
- Identification of factors that constitute eligibility for subsidized child care;
- Identification of appropriate documentation for eligibility decisions;
- Placement of children in an appropriate child development facility;
- Determination of proper subsidized co-payment calculations;
- Redetermination of eligibility or termination of eligibility; and
- Payments made to child development facilities caring for eligible children.
Eligibility decisions are based on adherence to the following federal and local laws including, but not limited to:
- The CCDBG Act and the implementing regulations, 45 C.F.R. Part 98;
- The Day Care Policy Act of 1979, effective September 19, 1979 (D.C. Law 3-16, D.C. Official Code § 4-401 et seq.) (Day Care Act);
- District of Columbia’s CCDF State Plan, current version;
- Chapter 2 of Title 5-A of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations (5-A DCMR § 200 et seq.); and
- Any other relevant OSSE policy issuances.
1Effective April 1, 2008, pursuant to the Public Education Reform Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Law 17-9, D.C. Code Section 38-2601, et. seq.) most of the functions of the DC Office of Early Childhood Education (ECE) were placed under OSSE. However, the Intake and Continuing Services Unit, Child Care Services Division, which completes eligibility determinations for the child care subsidy program, remained with the Department of Human Services (DHS). The Child Care Eligibility Monitors who were previously a part of the DHS CCSD under DHS remained with ECE under OSSE, along with other staff performing monitoring and quality control functions. Eligibility Monitors, along with other OSSE/DEL staff, will continue to interface with the DHS CCSD to ensure children and families continue to receive services.
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