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Management Bulletin 18-05


Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Transfer of Families into a California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids Stage 2 Child Care Program

Number: 18-05

Date: August 2018

Expires: Until Rescinded

Authority: California Budget Act of 2017 California Education Code (EC), Section 8263(h)

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Directors of California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Stage 2 contracts


Purpose

This Management Bulletin (MB) reminds contractors about the process by which families receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Stage 1 Child Care services are transferred into the CalWORKs 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. The MB also provides further guidance and direction relevant to the implementation of the Budget Act of 2017 including the 12-month eligibility provision and how it supports the seamless transfer between the CalWORKs stages.

This MB supersedes MB 17-06.

Background

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 purpose of the program is to support parents as they transition to the stable, long term child care necessary for the family to leave and remain off cash aid. 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 (California Education Code [EC] Section 8350).

The Stage 1 Program is administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) through the County Welfare Department (CWD) or an Alternative Payment Program (APP) under contract with their local CWD to deliver Stage 1 child care services. Stages 2 and 3 are administered by the California Department of Education (CDE) through contracts with the APPs.

In 2016, CDE, Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) and CDSS were requested to provide technical assistance to the CalWORKs Child Care lnteragency Workgroup, tasked with improving the transfer process across the stages. The workgroup identified transfer practices which prevented families from being seamlessly transferred from Stage 1 to Stage 2, such as requiring families to submit extra verifications or to complete a new application during the transfer process. To ensure that families were successfully transferred from Stage 1 to Stage 2, the CDE and the CDSS collaborated to provide clarifying guidance related to transferring families into Stage 2 in accordance with EC Section 8350 by issuing Management Bulletin 17-06 and All County Information Notice 1-19-17, in May 2017.

In July 2017, Governor Brown signed the Budget Act of 2017 which included the 12- month eligibility provision for families receiving child care and development services. This resulted in some of the guidance and directives in MB 17-06, Transfer of Families into a CalWORKS Stage 2 Program, being in conflict with the current law.

Applicable Statutory and Regulatory Requirements

Section 8263(h) of EC states that upon establishing initial eligibility or ongoing eligibility for services, a family shall be considered to meet all eligibility and need requirements for those services for not less than 12 months, shall receive those services for not less than 12 months before having their eligibility or need recertified, and shall not be required to report changes to income or other changes for at least 12 months.

Section 826 3(h)(2) of EC states that a family that establishes eligibility based on income shall report increases in income that exceed 85 percent of the State Median Income (SMI) and the family's ongoing eligibility shall at that time be  recertified.

Section 8273.1 of EC states that a family receiving CalWORKs cash aid shall not be charged a family fee. (Note: EC Section 8273.1 supersedes California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR) Section 18408[a][2][3] regarding calculating family fees for categorically eligible families).

Section 8350 of EC states that it is the intent of the Legislature that cash aid recipients and former cash aid recipients: (1) are connected as soon as possible to local child care resources which may include resource and referral agencies, (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. 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 current CalWORKs cash aid recipients are eligible for child care services as long as they continue to receive CalWORKs cash aid. The 5 CCR, Section 18406(b), further provides that current CalWORKs cash aid recipients must be participating in a CalWORKs approved welfare-to-workactivity or working to receive CalWORKschild care  services.

Section 8353 of EC states that former CalWORKs cash aid recipients are eligible to receive child care services in Stage 1 and Stage 2 for up to a total of no more than 24 months after they leave cash aid or until they are no longer eligible.

Section 8358.5 of EC requires contractors to set up a means for the timely exchange of information with the counties or Stage 1 Program Administrator needed to ensure the proper administration of child care services, including the transfer from the Stage 1 Program Administrator to the Stage 2 contractor.

Section 18408(a) of 5 CCR specifies that families receiving CalWORKs cash aid are categorically eligible for Stage 2 child care when at initial certification or recertification they meet the need requirement.

Section 18408(c) 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 Administrator or another contractor's Stage 2 Program and states that the process is complete when the sending Stage 1 Program Administrator or another contractor's Stage 2 Program, provides the nine data elements to the receiving Stage 2 contractor. These nine data elements must be received by the Stage 2 contractor before the case may be transferred from Stage 1 Program Administrator to the Stage 2 contractor.

Section 18412(b) of 5 CCR specifies that the Stage 2 Program contractor has 6 months from the date of the transfer into Stage 2 to establish the family data file documentation. However, EC Section 8263(h) now supersedes this regulation, in that upon establishing initial certification or recertification, the family is eligible for services  for not less than 12 months and they should not be required to report changes or submit additional documentation for at least 12 months.

Policy

The Stage 2 contractors, in coordination with the Stage 1 Program Administrator, must develop efficient coordinated systems for transferring families from Stage 1 to Stage 2 that ensure that the families do not experience a break in their child care services. Stage 2 contractors must 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 if the parent is currently receiving CalWORKs cash aid.

Directive

The sending Stage 1 Program Administrator or the other Stage 2 contractor and the receiving Stage 2 or Stage 3 contractors are responsible for data sharing and coordination in order to ensure the transfer of the nine data elements is completed in a seamless and timely manner. Only the information listed below (the nine data elements) as outlined in 5 CCR Section 18409(a), must be received by the Stage 2 contractor in order to transfer the family into Stage 2. The nine data elements include:

  1. The parent's(s) full name(s), address(es), and telephone number(s);

  2. The names and birth dates of all children under the age of 18 living with the family, regardless of whether they are served in the CalWORKs Program;

  3. The number of hours of child care needed each day for each child;

  4. The names of other family members in the household who are related by blood, marriage, or adoption;

  5. The reason for needing child care services;

  6. Family size and adjusted monthly income; if not a current cash aid recipient;

  7. 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;

  8. Rate of payment; and

  9. The name, address, and telephone number of the child care provider and the type of eligible provider, pursuant to 5 CCR Section 18227.

The sending Stage 1 Program or the other contractor's Stage 2 Program and the receiving Stage 2 contractors are responsible for data sharing and coordination in order to ensure the transfer of the nine data elements are completed in a seamless and timely manner.

Note: In Stage 1, an application, the ELCD 9600, is not required; therefore, one has not been completed and; therefore, will not be transferred to the Stage 2 Program with the nine data elements. There is no need for the receiving Stage 2 Program to require the family to complete an application when the family is transferred. The application will be completed at the time of recertification.

If the nine data elements that are received by the Stage 2 contractor are incomplete or are missing information, the Stage 2 contractor must immediately inform the sending Stage 1 Program Administrator or the other Stage 2 contractor in writing, or by email, that the transfer cannot occur until all nine data elements are complete and have been received. The family should continue to receive services in Stage 1 or the other contractor's Stage 2 Program until the nine data elements are received in full from the transferring contractor.

The receiving Stage 2 contractor must not require the family to furnish any documentation in order to transfer into Stage 2. This does not prohibit the transferring contractor from sharing additional information with the receiving contractor that it deems necessary to assist the family in the transfer, nor does it prohibit the family from voluntarily reporting any changes to the receiving contractor for the purposes of increasing or decreasing services or requesting a reduced family fee, if the family is off cash aid at the time of transfer and has a family fee.

Once the receiving Stage 2 contractor receives all nine data elements listed above and has notified the transferring contractor in writing or by email that the nine data elements are complete, the family's enrollment is considered transferred as stated in 5 CCR Section 18409. The date the family's data elements have been received and confirmed as complete is the date the 12-month eligibility period begins. Beginning on the transfer date, when the nine data elements have been received by the Stage 2 Program, the Stage 2 contractor must do the following:

  1. Assume the full responsibility for reimbursing the provider.

  2. Provide the parent a written notice informing the parent of the transfer to Stage 2. To fulfill this requirement, contractors may use the revised Welcome Letter (or agency form) provided in Attachment A (DOCX) to notify the parent. Contractors using their own written notice must not use one that requires parents to self­ certify the enrollment information or otherwise requires family documentation.

If the contractor needs other information from the provider that is necessary to reimburse the provider (i.e., provider's license, W-9 form, health and safety form), the contractor must request that information directly from the provider and must not request it from the family.

Families with Parents Receiving CalWORKs Cash Aid at the Time of Transfer

In accordance with EC sections 8350.5, 8273.1, and 5 CCR Section 18048(a) families with parents receiving CalWORKs cash aid at the time of transfer continue to be categorically eligible for services based on their cash aid status until they are certified no sooner than 12 months after the transfer. Such a family would not be obligated to report if their income exceeds 85 percent of the SMI during the 12-month eligibility period as the basis for eligibility is not income. At the time of certification 12 months after the transfer, the family must provide documentation that they are still receiving cash aid to be eligible for child care services based on receiving CalWORKs cash aid or provide documentation that they are qualified as income eligible or another basis of eligibility.

It is important also to remember that a contractor's policies must not supersede the categorical eligibility of a family receiving CalWORKs cash aid (5 CCR Section 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 reasonable 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 Section 18408(c][1][2]) 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.

Families with Parents who are Former CalWORKs Cash Aid Recipients at the Time of Transfer

Families who are transferred into Stage 2 and are no longer receiving cash aid at the time of transfer should continue to receive subsidized child care services as they meet the need and eligibility requirements set forth in EC sections 8263 and 8263.1 until they are recertified 12 months later. If a family has been assessed a copay in Stage 1, at the time of transfer that family fee must not be changed unless the family voluntarily reports a change which would decrease their family fee. However, a family who transfers as a former CalWORKs cash aid recipient is required to report if their income exceeds 85 percent of the SMI, pursuant to 5 CCR Section 18084.3 in the Implementation Guidance, released with MB 17-14.

Other Relevant Information

For information regarding the responsibilities of the Stage 1 Program Administrator in this transfer process, please contact the COSS Child Care Programs Bureau at 916- 657-2128.

If you have any questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned Early Learning and Care Field Services Consultant. A list of consultants can be found on the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments 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 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.

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Friday, November 9, 2018
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