Management Bulletin 17-06
Early Education and Support Division
Subject: Transfer of Families into a California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Stage 2 Program
Date: May 2017
Expires: Until Rescinded
Authority: The California Education Code (EC), sections 8350, 8350.5, 8353 and 8358.5; the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), sections 18118, 18408, 18409, 18409.5, 18410, 18412, 18415 and 18418.
Attention: Executive Directors and Program Directors of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Stage 2 Contracts, and California Community College CalWORKs Child Care Program Administrators
This Management Bulletin (MB) reminds contractors about the process by which families receiving CalWORKs Stage 1 (Stage 1) child care are to be seamlessly transferred into the CalWORKs Stage 2 (Stage 2) Child Care Program. This MB clarifies the process in order to ensure that families experience no break in services as a result of the transition between the three stages of CalWORKs child care.
This MB supersedes MB 07-09.
In 1998, the California Legislature established three stages of CalWORKs child care services, through which a family who currently receives or formerly received cash aid would pass. The Legislature intended that families would experience no break in their child care services as they transition between the three stages of CalWORKs child care (EC Section 8350). Stage 1 Programs are managed by the County Welfare Department (CWD) or an Alternative Payment Program under contract with their local CWD to deliver Stage 1 child care services.
In 2016, the California Department of Education, Early Education and Support Division (CDE EESD) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) were invited to provide technical assistance to the CalWORKs Interagency Workgroup, tasked with examining how the Stage 1 and Stage 2 transfer process was actually being implemented. The workgroup became aware of transfer practices which prevented families from being seamlessly transferred from Stage 1 to Stage 2, such as requiring families to submit extra verifications or complete a new application during the transfer process. To ensure that families are successfully transferred from Stage 1 to Stage 2, CDE and CDSS are collaborating to provide clarification for transferring families into Stage 2 without a break in services; as intended by the Legislature in accordance with EC 8350.
For information regarding the responsibilities of the Stage 1 Contractor in this transfer process, please see All County Information Notice I-19-17, titled CalWORKs Stage One Child Care Best Practices, published by CDSS at http://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/ACIN/2017/I-19_17.pdf (PDF).
Applicable Statutory and Regulatory Requirements
Section 8350 of EC states that it is the intent of the Legislature that cash aid recipients and former cash aid recipients are; (1) connected as soon as possible to local child care resources, (2) make stable child care arrangements, and (3) continue to receive subsidized child care services after they no longer receive aid, as long as the families require services and meet eligibility and need requirements (EC 8350). It further states that it is the intent of the Legislature that families experience no break in their child care services due to a transition between the three stages of child care services.
Section 8350.5 of EC states that CalWORKs cash aid recipients are eligible for child care services as long as they continue to receive CalWORKs cash aid. The 5 CCR 18406(b), further provides that current CalWORKs cash aid recipients must be participating in a CalWORKs approved welfare-to-work activity or working to receive CalWORKs child care services.
Section 8358.5 of EC requires contractors to set up a means for the timely exchange of information between Stage 1 Programs and Stage 2 Programs to ensure the proper administration of child care services.
Section 18408 of 5 CCR specifies that families receiving CalWORKs cash aid are categorically eligible for Stage 2 child care as long as they continue to have a need for services.
Section 18408 of 5 CCR further defines the contractor’s obligations in lieu of terminating child care services to a family that is on CalWORKs cash aid.
Section 18409 of 5 CCR clarifies the process for families transferring into Stage 2 from a Stage 1 Program or another contractor’s Stage 2 Program and states that the process is complete when the sending Stage 1 Program or another contractor’s Stage 2 Program, provides the nine data elements to the receiving Stage 2 Program. These nine data elements must be received by the Stage 2 Program before the case may be transferred from Stage 1 to Stage 2.
Section 18412(b) of 5 CCR specifies that the Stage 2 Program has six months from the date of the transfer into Stage 2 to establish the family data file documentation.
Section 8273.1 of EC states that a family receiving CalWORKs cash aid shall not be charged a family fee. (Note: EC 8273.1 supersedes 5 CCR 18408[a] regarding calculating family fees for categorically eligible families).
The Stage 2 Program, in coordination with the Stage 1 Program, must develop efficient coordinated systems for transferring families from Stage 1 to Stage 2 that ensure continuation of child care services occurs in a seamless fashion by ensuring families moving between Stage 1 and Stage 2 experience no break in their child care services. Stage 2 contractors should not institute or maintain policies or administrative procedures that hinder or impede that smooth transition. Contractors are also reminded that families are categorically eligible to receive child care services while receiving CalWORKs cash aid.
Families Receiving CalWORKs Cash Aid
In accordance with EC 8350.5 and 8273.1, families receiving CalWORKs cash aid are categorically eligible for services and pay no family fees. Therefore, a CalWORKs cash aid family does not need to report changes in income or family size while they receive cash aid, and cannot be terminated for failure to do so. A contractor’s policies must not supersede the categorical eligibility of a family receiving CalWORKs cash aid (5 CCR 18408[b]).
In the event a categorically eligible family would otherwise have their child care terminated due to the family’s violation of a child care contractor’s policies, the contractor must notify the CWD of the actions by the family that violated the contractor’s policy in order to determine what action(s) may be taken, including referring the family back to the Stage 1 Program. In addition, contractors are to identify what additional steps need to be taken to remedy the situation (5 CCR 18408[c]) including the following:
- Develop a jointly agreed upon plan with the CWD for specific services to be provided to the family by the CWD.
- Determine jointly with the CWD whether the family would be better served in Stage 1.
Transferring From Stage 1 or Another Stage 2 Contractor
Contractors are reminded that, when a family is transferring into Stage 2 from either a Stage 1 Program or another contractor’s Stage 2 Program, only the information listed below (nine data elements) as outlined in 5 CCR 18409(a), must be received by the Stage 2 Program in order to transfer the family into Stage 2:
- The parent’s(s) full name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s);
- The names and birth dates of all children under the age of eighteen living with the family, regardless of whether they are served in the CalWORKs Program;
- The number of hours of child care needed each day for each child;
- The names of other family members in the household who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- The reason for needing child care services;
- Family size and adjusted monthly income; if not a current cash aid recipient;
- Employment or training information for parent(s) including name and address of employer(s) or training institution(s) and days and hours of employment or training;
- Provider reimbursement rate; and
- The name, address, and telephone number of the child care provider.
If the nine data elements are received incomplete or are missing information, the Stage 2 Program must immediately inform the sending Stage 1 Program or other contractor’s Stage 2 Program that the transfer cannot occur until all nine data elements are received. It is not the responsibility of the family or the receiving Stage 2 Program to complete or collect the nine data elements.
Contractors shall not require the family or the provider to furnish any documentation provided to the Stage 1 Program or other contractor’s Stage 2 Program within one year prior to the application date, unless the documentation is absent from the existing file and the documentation affects the eligibility for services as stated in 5 CCR 18415(e).
Once the Stage 2 Program receives the nine data elements above, the family’s enrollment is considered transferred (5 CCR 18409), this information is the equivalent of receiving all of the required documentation to reimburse providers. The receiving Stage 2 Program must do the following:
- Assume the full responsibility for reimbursing the provider.
- Provide the parent a notice which includes the completed information for the nine data elements, and request that that the parent certify by signature that the information is accurate. To fulfill this requirement, contractors may use the Welcome Letter and Transfer of Enrollment Sheet (or agency form) provided in Attachment A to notify the parent. Attachment A is located on the CDE Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/calworksattachmenta.pdf (2 MB).
- Contractors must notify the family of the contractor’s policy for signing and returning the Transfer of Enrollment Sheet (or agency form) certifying the information is accurate. The contractor policy must give a reasonable timeframe for the parent to review and sign. To fulfill this requirement, it is suggested contractors allow at least 30 days for the parent to review, sign and return the Transfer of Enrollment Sheet (or agency form). Regardless of the contractor policy regarding the timeframe for signing and returning the Transfer of Enrollment Sheet (or agency form) contractors should continue to work with the family to complete the certification and shall not terminate child care services for failure to provide the certification until the six month deadline for completing the family data file.
- Contractors should also allow parent(s) to respond in a way that is convenient for the parent(s) to reply, making every effort to avoid the need to disrupt work. Contractors may enclose a pre-paid self-addressed return envelope to the parent(s) when mailing the Transfer of Enrollment Sheet (or agency form), or may have the parent return the sheet electronically via electronic file through e-mail or fax.
- If the family indicates that the nine data elements are inaccurate or that there has been a change in one or more of the nine data elements, the Program must update the information in accordance with 5 CCR 18103(b).
The sending Stage 1 Program or the other contractor’s Stage 2 Program and the receiving Stage 2 Program are responsible for data sharing and coordination in order to ensure the transfer of the documentation is completed in a seamless and timely manner prior to the six month deadline in order for the receiving Stage 2 Program to complete the family data file and ensure proper administration of CalWORKs child care services.
The receiving Stage 2 Program must not require the family to complete a new application. Additionally, the receiving Stage 2 Program must not require the family or the provider to furnish any documentation previously provided to a transferring Stage 1 or Stage 2 Program, unless there is a reported change that requires an update in accordance with 5 CCR 18103(b).
In summary, as long as the family data file contains the nine data elements, the receiving Stage 2 Program has all the documentation needed to transfer the family and make provider payments. At that point, the receiving contractor has six months from the date of transfer to obtain documentation from the sending contractor, and any new documentation not previously provided to the sending contractor, in addition to the certification verifying the nine data elements. The receiving Stage 2 Program shall be determined compliant with 5 CCR requirements governing the documentation of eligibility and need for transferring enrollment into Stage 2 for up to six months, as the receiving contractor has up to six months from the date of transfer to establish the family data file as specified in 5 CCR 18412. The receiving Stage 2 Program should work with the families to obtain the certification, easing any administrative burdens on the family.
It is recommended that, if a parent does not sign and return the Transfer of Enrollment Sheet (or agency form) in a timely fashion to certify the nine data elements, the Stage 2 Program should make every attempt to contact the parent to fulfill this requirement. It is recommended that contractors document attempts to obtain parent certification of the nine data elements. A Notice of Action -Termination should only be issued after all attempts to contact the family and obtain necessary documentation have failed by the end of the sixth month following transfer.
If you have questions regarding the information provided in this MB, please email CalWORKsFAQ@cde.ca.gov. Responses will be posted on the CDE’s CalWORKs Stage 2 Transfers Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/calworkstransfersfaq.asp. CalWORKs Child Care Programs are encouraged to refer to the FAQ Web page before submitting your questions.
For questions specifically related to a current recipient please contact your Early Education and Support Field Services Consultant by phone at 916-322-6233. A listing of Field Services Consultant regional assignments is located on the CDE Consultant Regional Assignment Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp.
This Management Bulletin is mandatory only to the extent that it cites a specific statutory or regulatory requirement. Pursuant to the California Education Code Section 33308.5, any portion of this Management Bulletin that is not supported by a specific statutory or regulatory requirement is not prescriptive.