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Management Bulletin 17-11


Early Education and Support Division

Subject: Revised Family Fee Schedule

Number: 17-11

Date: August 2017

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Education Code sections 8263, 8263.1, 8273, 8273.1, and 8447(b)(1), (c) and (f)

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Directors of Child Development Programs


Purpose

The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify contractors of the Revised Family Fee Schedule and other changes impacting the assessment of the family fees as required by Assembly Bill (AB) 99, enacted by the Budget Act of 2017. The Revised Family Fee Schedule is effective July 1, 2017, and can be downloaded at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/famfeeschedjuly2017.xls.

This MB rescinds MB 12-05 and MB 14-03a.

Background

Assembly Bill 99, Chapter 15, Statutes of 2017 amended California Education Code (EC) sections 8263 and 8263.1, among other sections, which resulted in changes to the following requirements:

  • State Median Income (Initial Certification)
  • Graduated Phase-out (Recertification)
  • Updated Income Rankings
  • Revised Family Fee Schedule
  • Minimum Twelve-Month Eligibility

A separate MB will be issued for each of the requirements listed above. Please refer to the Other Relevant Information section below for more information.

Policy

The EC Section 8263.1, as amended by the Budget Act of 2017, revised the State Median Income Ceilings which resulted in the need to revise the Family Fee Schedule to reflect this change. This version was an attempt to maintain the same methodology for a timely release of this MB. The CDE intends to revise the methodology in fall 2017.

The EC sections 8273 and 8447(f) requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to establish a family fee schedule for families receiving child care services, subject to the approval of the schedule by the California Department of Finance. In accordance with existing EC, families will continue to be assessed a flat monthly fee based on the following factors.
  • Hours of certified need as documented on the application for services
  • The family’s adjusted monthly income
  • Family size

Families will be assessed either a flat monthly full-time fee or part-time fee, based on hours of care certified for the month, income, and family size. Families with a certified need of less than 130 hours per month will be assessed a part-time fee while families with a certified need of 130 hours or more per month will be assessed a full-time fee. Contractors cannot, under any circumstances, recalculate family fees based on a child’s actual attendance.

As amended, EC Section 8273.1 exempts the following families from family fees:

  • Families receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) cash aid
  • Families of children enrolled in a part-day California State Preschool Program as described in EC Section 8235(d)
  • Families with children who have been identified as at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation ("at risk" children) may be exempt from paying a family fee for 12 months
  • Families whose child(ren) are receiving Child Protective Services may be exempt from paying a family fee for 12 months

Although EC Section 8273 requires assessment of family fees at initial certification and reassessment at update of certification or recertification, amendments to EC Section 8263(h) preclude agencies from increasing family fees based on changes in a family services agreement unless the changes resulted from the recertification process. Therefore, effective July 1, 2017, contractors must use the Revised Family Fee Schedule when:

  • Assessing family fees for families at initial certification or at recertification
  • A parent voluntarily reports changes to reduce their family fees
  • Recalculating family fees for currently enrolled families that have been assessed a family fee using the 2014 Family Fee Schedule issued in MB 14-03a, and determining the amount of the refund or credit due to the family as a result of the recalculation of family fees, effective July 1, 2017

Directives

Contractors must assess a family’s fee as follows.

Initial Certification or Recertification

When assessing family fees for families with predictable schedules, contractors will continue to assess family fees in accordance with the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) requirements, using the total monthly certified hours of care as documented in the application for services. When the initial enrollment is not on the first day of the month, the contractor can assess a family fee based on certified hours for the partial month and another family fee for each subsequent month based on certified hours as documented in the application for services. An example is a family works 40 hours per week or full-time, and their initial enrollment date is May 20. For the month of May, the family will utilize less than 130 hours. In this example, the family will be assessed a part-time fee for May and a full-time fee for each subsequent month of service.

When assessing family fees for families whose parent’s employment is unpredictable and precludes the contractor from verifying specific days and hours of employment or work week cycles as described in 5 CCR sections 18086(b)(2)(D) and 18086(c)(2), the contractor must use the average hours of the parent’s verified work schedule for the 4 months immediately preceding the certification. If at the time of initial certification the parent does not have a work history, the contractor will assess a flat monthly fee based on: (1) the verified hours the employer expects the parent to work or (2) the self-employment documentation provided by the parent. The contractor will then assess the parent such fees for the next 12 months unless the family voluntarily requests a reduction by reporting a change as described below.

When Families Voluntarily Request a Reduction of Family Fee

When a family voluntarily requests a reduction to their family fee by reporting a change such as family income, days and hours of care needed, or family size, the contractor must reassess the family fee as described above. The parent must provide documentation to support the reported change. The family fee reduction takes effect on the first of the month following the receipt and approval of the required supporting documentation. This documentation may not be used to make any other changes to the family’s service agreement.

A Notice of Action (NOA) must be issued immediately upon receipt and approval of the required supporting documentation so that the new family fee will become effective on the first day of the month that follows the issue date of the NOA. For example, if a NOA is issued on July 28, 2017, the effective date of the reduced fee would be August 1, 2017.

Note: Unlike other changes to the service agreement, the fee reduction should be implemented immediately and prior to the parent’s opportunity to appeal so as to give families the immediate benefit of the reduction in fees.

Families must still be given 14 calendar days from the issue date of the NOA, if the NOA is hand delivered to the parent, or 19 calendar days from the issue date if the NOA is mailed, to file an appeal. The reassessed fee must be collected monthly in accordance with 5 CCR, Section 18114.

Recalculating Family Fees for Currently Enrolled Families

Currently enrolled families that were assessed a family fee based on the previous family fee schedule must have their family fee recalculated effective July 1, 2017. Agencies have until September 30, 2017 to complete this process.

Contractors must review records for all currently enrolled families who have been assessed a family fee based on MB 14-03a, and recalculate the family’s fee as follows:

  • Using existing documentation, recalculate the family fee using the 2017 Revised Family Fee Schedule. No additional information is required, and must not be requested.

  • If the family fee has changed, the contractor must issue a NOA in accordance with 5 CCR, Section 18119 reflecting the new family fee. The effective date of the NOA must be July 1, 2017.

    Note: While effective dates of NOAs are normally prospective in nature, this action must be implemented as of July 1, 2017 to give families the benefit of the reduction in fees as required by the Budget Act of 2017. Families will still have an opportunity to appeal the calculation of the family fee within 14 calendar days of the date the NOA is issued (assuming it is hand-delivered to the parent), or within 19 calendar days of issuance if served by mail.

  • If the recalculation results in a lower family fee, contractors must credit or refund any overpayment in family fees that parents have paid. The NOA should include the amount to be refunded or credited to the family as a result of the recalculation.

  • Agencies needing additional time to complete this process must contact their Early Education and Support Division (EESD) Field Services Regional Consultant prior to September 30, 2017, to request an extension.

This family fee assessment process does not affect how contractors collect family fees. Alternative Payment agencies that have policies allowing providers to collect family fees can continue using those policies.

Note: Because a family that meets eligibility requirements at initial certification or recertification is considered eligible until the next recertification, a payment made by a child development program for a child during this period will not be considered an error or an improper payment due to a change in the family’s circumstances during that same period (EC Section 8263[i]). The EESD will be providing Technical Assistance related to implementation of program requirements impacted by the Budget Act throughout Fiscal Year 2017–18.

Other Relevant Information

For more information on the requirements, please see the associated management bulletins linked below:

Contractors that have concerns regarding the impact that issuing family fee refunds or credits may have on contract apportionments can contact their assigned Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services fiscal analyst. A directory of analyst assignments can be found on the California Department of Education (CDE) Fiscal Apportionment Analyst Directory Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/faad.asp.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned Early Education and Support Field Services Consultant via the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments Web page located at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp, or by phone at 916-322-6233.

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Questions:   Early Education and Support Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, September 27, 2017
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