Early Education and Support Division
Subject: Alternative Process for Assessing Family Fees
Date: June 2012
Expires: Until Rescinded
Authority: California Education Code Section 8263(g)
Attention: All Child Care and Development Program Executive Directors and Program Administrators
The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to provide instructions to all child care and development contractors on an alternative process for determining family fees.
California Education Code (EC) Section 8263(g) requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a fee schedule for families using subsidized child care and development services. California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Section 18109 provides factors for determining the fee to be assessed, including the number of hours each day the child receives services. 5 CCR Section 18114 requires contractors to set policies for the collection of these fees and requires the fees be collected prior to providing services.
Many families receiving subsidized child care and development services do not have a work or work activity with a predictable schedule. The hours of care each day may fluctuate, not only daily, but weekly. For these families, contractors currently assess and collect family fees based on the certified need for services as documented on the application for services. Contractors then recalculate the fee based on the actual hours of care provided, which often results in either billing the families for additional fees owed, or crediting the families for fees overpaid. At the same time, the contactor is collecting assessed fees for the following month. This process is repeated monthly until the family is on a regular schedule or services are terminated.
In our continued effort to streamline processes and provide consistent and equitable policies that benefit all families, the Early Education and Support Division (EESD) has developed an alternative for assessing family fees for families with unpredictable or variable schedules.
When assessing fees for families with predictable schedules, agencies will continue to assess fees in accordance with 5 CCR Section 18086, using the certified days and hours of care as documented in the application for services.
When assessing fees for families with unpredictable or variable schedules, as described in 5 CCR sections 18086(b)(2)(D) and 18086(c)(2), the contractor can assess the family fee as follows:
- At the time of initial certification, the agency can use the days and hours of the parent’s verified work schedule for the four weeks immediately preceding the certification to determine the family fee to be assessed.
Example: The family fee will be assessed for 10 full-time days and 2 part-time days. If the employer or self employment documentation verifies the parent worked as follows during the four weeks preceding the certification:
- Week 1: 3 day (full-time)
- Week 2: 3 days (full-time), 2 (part-time)
- Week 3: 2 days (full-time)
- Week 4: 2 days (full-time)
If at the time of initial certification the parent does not have a work history, the agency can assess the family fee based on the verified days and hours the employer expects the parent to work, or the self-employment documentation provided by the parent. Based on the documentation and/or verification, the agency will project the number of days and hours the parent is expected to work in the next four weeks.
Example: If the verification and/or self-employment documentation indicates the parent is expected work “up to” 29 hours a week, the agency would multiply the weekly hours (29) by 4, divide the product (116) by 8 hours to determine the average number of days per month (14.5). For any fraction of a day, the agency will charge a part-time fee. In this example, the family fee would be assessed for 14 full-time days and 1 part-time day. If the verification indicates 20-30 hours a week, determine the average ((20+30)/2) hours to be worked (in this case 25 hours) to perform the calculation above.
- When updating a family’s work schedule, in accordance with 5 CCR, sections 18086(b)(2)(D) and 18086(c)(2), and at the time of recertification, the agency can reassess the fee based on averaging the actual days of attendance from the previous 4 months. The agency will average the actual days of attendance during the previous 4 months by counting the number of part-time and full-time days the child received child care and development services. Divide the total number of part-time and full-time days by 4 to determine the number of full-time days and part-time days the agency will use to assess fees.
Example: The attendance record shows the child received services for 20 part-time days and 30 full-time days over the last 4 months, the agency would divide the 20 part-time days and 30 full-time each by 4 to determine the average number of part-time days (5) and full-time days (7.5) per month. For any fraction of a day, the agency will charge a part-time fee. The fee in this example would be assessed for 7 full-time days and 6 part-time days.
- When the parent’s work schedule becomes predictable, has specific days and hours of employment or work week cycles, the agency will assess the family fee in accordance with 5 CCR Section 18086, using the certified days and hours of care as documented on the application for services at time of recertification or update.
Fees assessed based on the process above will be collected monthly in accordance with 5 CCR Section 18114. The fees will be collected until such time as the family’s work schedule is updated as required in 5 CCR, sections 18086(b)(2)(D) and 18086(c)(2), becomes predictable or the family services are terminated.
NOTE: Other than as instructed above, contractors electing to use this process should not under any circumstances recalculate fees based on actual attendance.
Agencies have flexibility in determining if and when they adopt the process described above. Once adopted, the process should be applied for all families and should be included in the contractor’s policies.
In accordance with 5 CCR Section 18109, several factors need to be considered when calculating family fees. A family’s income as used to determine the family fee needs to be calculated in accordance with 5 CCR sections 18084 and 18096 (b). For determining days/hours of enrollment for assessing the fee, contractors must follow the requirements specified in 5 CCR Section 18086(b)(2)(D).
This fee assessment process does not affect how agencies collect family fees. Alternative Payment agencies that have policies allowing providers to collect family fees should continue using those policies.
Determination of reimbursement to providers will not change.
Questions regarding the information in this MB should be addressed to your assigned EESD Field Services Consultant at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp or by phone at 916-322-6233.
This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement. Any portion of this Management Bulletin that is not supported by a specific statutory and/or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive pursuant to California Education Code Section 33308.5.