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DHS COVID-19 PROVIDER GUIDANCE // OCDEL

Announcement: ELRC-20-#09
Child Care Works Payment Modifications Due to Impacts related to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Issued: June 25, 2020; Sunset Date: August, 31, 2020

Audience

All Regulated Child Care Facilities; Early Learning Resource Centers; and OCDEL Early Learning Resource Center Program Representatives 

Purpose

To provide additional information to child care programs participating in Child Care Works and the Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC) in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This is an updated policy, providing additional information and replaces ELRC Announcement 20 #08.

Background

COVID-19 continues to be active in Pennsylvania. The information about managing COVID-19 is continually being updated. This announcement focuses on the clarification of payments for Pennsylvania’s child care subsidy program, Child Care Works (CCW), for the period of July 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020.

On March 6, 2020 Governor Wolf issued a Proclamation of Disaster Emergency. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) is serving as the lead agency to coordinate information at the state and local level.

Information will continue to be shared to address questions and concerns brought to OCDEL’s attention. We continue to monitor information from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidance developed by DHS will be centrally located on this page, which will be updated as additional guidance becomes available. We ask that you continue to consult these resources for updates on COVID-19, information on staying healthy, and updates on the situation in Pennsylvania.

DOH has routinely shared that Pennsylvanians should be prepared for the continued spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus and is urging continued planning. As a result, child care programs serving children and families enrolled in CCW have inquired whether they would continue to receive CCW payments in the event child care facilities closed due to COVID-19.

On Friday March 13, DHS issued a policy announcement addressing CCW payment in the event child care was mandated to close by the Governor. That policy was updated outlining CCW payments for May and June. In times of emergency, the commonwealth strives to support citizens to the greatest extent; therefore, processes and policies are evaluated and updated to be responsive to community needs and the continually evolving situation. As a result, this policy communicates additional information regarding CCW payments for child care services.

Discussion

During this emergency period, child care providers are encountering complex challenges exceeding the scope of normal operations. DHS recognizes providers have been impacted by mandated closure for significant periods of time due to COVID-19 impacts. In order to continue supporting child care providers through facility closures and reopening resulting from COVID-19, the Department is updating its previously issued guidance which addressed CCW payments through June 30, 2020.

Effective July 1, 2020, CCW payments will continue to child care providers, with the exception of the following:

    • Providers who have been closed by Certification due to a negative sanction.
    • Providers who have reported permanent closure.
    • Providers who serve school-age only children and are closed for the summer.

Providers who are eligible will continue to be paid based on enrollment, as of March 13, for those children who remain eligible for CCW through normal invoicing and payment methods.

In most cases the ELRC is not terminating CCW eligibility for families during the COVID-19 pandemic, however, there are some instances where eligibility must end. During the COVID-19 pandemic, adverse actions will continue to occur for the following circumstance:

    • Over income
    • Loss of appeal
    • Child turns 13
    • Family moves out of Pennsylvania
    • Family assets over $1 million
    • Intentional fraud
    • TANF cases determined ineligible by the County Assistance Office
    • Not meeting the work requirements at redetermination, if a parent/caretaker has a job to return to but chooses not to return to work.
    • Delinquent Copayment for families whose children are attending child care, but are delinquent in paying the copayment.

In addition, the ELRC can terminate eligibility if the family voluntarily withdraws from the CCW program.

longer be paid for children for whom an adverse action was issued.

This policy will be in effect through August 31, 2020.

The status of this policy will be reviewed and updated before the end of August 2020 to provide guidance to ELRC and inform the child care community of the policy beginning September 1, 2020.

OCDEL recognizes families will be impacted by changes to their own work schedule and income during child care closures related to COVID-19. Child care providers who are closed will not collect copayments from families for CCW for the period of the closure. If a provider is open the provider may collect copayments from families whose children are actually in care. A provider who is open may not collect the copayments from families whose children are not currently receiving care.

NOTE: Providers who are open should continue to report to the ELRC delinquent copayments for families whose children are attending care but are not paying the required copayment. Beginning July 1, 2020, the ELRC will send families Adverse Action notices for delinquent copayment.

Next Steps

  1. Child care programs a. Share with staff completing CCW attendance reporting and invoicing. 
      • Please direct any questions to your ELRC. 
  2. The ELRC
      • Review and share with appropriate staff. 
      • Please direct any question to your program representative. 
      • The ELRC will support child care providers with any transition after closures are lifted.