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Management Bulletin 20-07


Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: COVID-19 Guidance to California Resource and Referral Programs and Local Planning Councils

Number: 20-07

Date: April 15, 2020

Expires: June 30, 2020, or until rescinded

Authority: Senate Bill 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020); Executive Orders N-33-20 N-45-20, and N-47-20; California Education Code (EC) 8210 through 8216, and California EC 8499 through 8499.7

Attention: All Executive Officers and Program Directors of Early Learning and Care Programs


Purpose

This Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify and provide guidance to California Resource and Referral Programs (R&Rs) and Local Planning Councils (LPCs) about updated requirements and instructions during the declared State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

This guidance is not a permanent change to statute or regulations. These requirements will apply until June 30, 2020, unless nullified or changed by the Legislature. As needs evolve and more information is available, the California Department of Education (CDE) will issue updates and additional guidance.

Background

On March 4, 2020, Governor Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency in California as a result of the threat of global pandemic disease COVID-19. On March 17, 2020, the Governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 117 (Chapter 3, Statutes of 2020) which authorizes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to issue guidance and develop directives to address, as necessary, contractual and reporting requirements for early learning and care (ELC) programs impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) through June 30, 2020. This authority applies to Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 and includes LPCs and R&Rs.

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom released Executive Order N-33-20 directing all residents immediately to heed current State public health directives to stay home. In accordance with this order, the State Public Health Officer has designated a list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” (essential workers) to help state, local, tribal, and industry partners as they work to protect communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. This list is available at https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf.

Furthermore, on April 4 and 7, 2020, the Governor released Executive Orders N-45-20 and N-47-20, respectively, to facilitate child care for children of essential critical infrastructure workers by allowing the CDE and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) the flexibility to waive certain legal requirements in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency. The Executive Orders focus on, among other things, waiving current eligibility and enrollment priorities that prevent child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers. Executive Order N-47-20 further requires that the CDE and CDSS develop guidance to establish priorities for the enrollment of essential workers and at-risk populations, which guidance was released through MB 20-06 on April 8, 2020.

As described in EC 8212–8216, the primary mission of the local R&Rs programs is to identify the full range of existing child care services provided by public and private agencies, update and maintain a database of child care providers, and provide resources and information to parents looking for child care. Included among the statutory duties required of R&Rs is the duty to disseminate information on current public issues affecting the local and state delivery of child care services and to facilitate communication between child care providers and child-related service providers in the community being served.

The primary mission of the LPCs is to plan for early learning and care (ELC) services that meet the needs of the families in the local community. The 58 LPCs [each representing one (1) county throughout California] serve as a forum to assess, identify, and direct resources to address the child care needs of all families in the community for all types of child care both subsidized and non-subsidized through local partnerships, including with Head Start and Early Head Start grantees and all local education agencies, as described in EC 8499–8499.5. Included among the statutory duties that LPCs are required to perform, is the duty to collaborate with other child care related entities in the community, including subsidized and non-subsidized child care providers and local R&R programs, to foster partnerships which can be used to meet local child care needs.

In order to provide child care support to children of essential workers during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, new or existing providers may reasonably need to purchase additional supplies. As set forth below, existing funding streams that may be repurposed to purchase such supplies include California Resource and Referral Programs (CRRP) and California Child Care Initiative Project (CCIP).

Policy

During the Governor declared State of Emergency in California related to COVID-19, R&Rs and LPCs will need to use new tools and flexibility to perform their responsibilities of serving local child care needs and ensure that critical functions in their communities are maintained.

The R&Rs and LPCs must continue to remain open, albeit in a virtual mode, consistent with current social distancing requirements, for the majority of services. They must also be available as a consistent and collaborative resource to assist in county development of emergency child care for essential workers and help coordinate ELC programs, providers, and families in search of care. As a result of prioritizing essential workers, some ELC programs will be opening new ELC settings or pivoting spaces to serve essential workers. Essential workers need a reliable resource for information about where and how they can access quality ELC during the State of Emergency.

Furthermore, families of essential workers may be new to state-subsidized ELC programs and may need additional guidance and support to navigate the system. Wherever possible, data collection, analysis, technical assistance, and other R&R and LPC coordinating functions should be provided remotely, as determined by local and state public health guidance. In some cases, local directives that are more restrictive, shall supersede the State guidance.

In order to match families of essential workers with available child care spaces in their communities, families need information on immediately available care. Additionally, the CDE and CDSS need access to statewide data on child care vacancies in programs that remain open (or reopen) and are eligible to serve these families. While data reporting on vacancies has not been previously required by the CDE, it is clear that an effective response to the current statewide emergency requires up-to-date vacancy data in order to ensure the identification of the full range of available child care providers and maximize providers’ ability to quickly serve families. The directive below responds to this need.

Directive

It is the expectation of CDE that the R&Rs and LPCs work in close coordination with each other, as well as with other county and state agencies engaged in addressing COVID-19, to provide a seamless, responsive, highly engaged solution to meet the quickly evolving child care needs of essential workers and at-risk populations with the available child care supply. The CDE will provide emergency communications to stakeholders at R&Rs and LPCs throughout this response.

The R&R will serve as the lead coordinator of the emergency supply, demand, and referral response for each county, unless the county appoints another lead coordination body, such as the LPC. If a county wishes for an individual other than the county R&R director to serve as the lead, they must inform CDE at ELCDEmergency@cde.ca.gov by April 22, 2020. The lead in each county must be available to document key data regularly, answer immediate requests for information, and coordinate local partners for effective implementation of new tools and resources in response to this crisis.

By April 30, 2020, R&Rs and LPCs must update their agencies’ emergency response plans for staffing and continuity of services to include references to current guidelines related to COVID-19, share this information with the community, including families, providers, ELC contractors, and other local partners, and train staff as information is updated. Contractors seeking a waiver to this date should request one through email by emailing ELCDEmergency@cde.ca.gov and include “Emergency Response Plan Waiver” in the subject line.

Resource and Referral Programs
Data

Effective April 15, 2020, R&Rs are required to gather data from providers and update information on vacancies no less than twice weekly.

Specifically, all R&R programs must work with their licensed providers to collect and/or update information on each provider’s status, capacity, and vacancy no less than twice weekly. Licensees whose status does not change between reports do not need to provide updates. For purposes of this reporting:

  • Status shall mean whether the provider is: open and at capacity; open with availability; closed, but willing to open with technical assistance or support; or closed
  • Capacity shall mean: total number of children able to be served, by age category (0–2; 2–5; and 5+)
  • Vacancy shall mean: one or more available spaces to provide a family with child care. Vacancies must be listed by age category.

This information must be submitted to the state through MyChildCarePlan (MCCP), a database tool developed by the California Resource and Referral Network in partnership with the CDE and other partners. By providing this information, California will ensure that essential worker families can be connected to available spaces efficiently during this State of Emergency related to COVID-19.

The CDSS, in partnership with CDE and the R&Rs, has developed a technology platform to consolidate data collected by the R&Rs and provided to the State through MCCP. California will then disseminate accurate and up-to-date child care provider information to essential workers through https://MyChildCare.ca.gov. During the ramp up period, while R&Rs are collecting and uploading data to MCCP, the CDSS will be collecting key information on provider status through Everbridge, an emergency text/mobile phone communication tool.

The CDE understands that some R&R agencies already use the MCCP database as the database for their R&R, while other agencies connect the data in their databases to the MCCP through the use of Application Programming Interface (API) linkages. Other R&R agencies may not have been connected to MCPP in the past.

Through the duration of the COVID-19 State of Emergency, R&Rs must report updated numbers to MCCP each Tuesday and Friday. Updates may be facilitated through Application Programming Interface (API) linkages to existing data systems, electronic spread sheet uploads (Excel, .csv, or Access formats), or direct encrypted survey/form links sent to the R&R or to the licensees.

Beginning April 15, 2020, any R&R who uses MCCP as their database or who has the ability to upload into MCCP must begin collecting the data elements and submitting them no less than twice weekly. Any R&R agencies without the current ability to upload into MCCP must begin collecting the data elements as of April 15, 2020, but is not required to upload them into MCCP until April 24, 2020.

Any questions related to how to upload data into MCCP to meet these requirements should be directed to the California Resource and Referral Network.

Reallocating Funding for Commodities

Local R&Rs may use funds, with prior CDE approval, from their California Resource and Referral Program (CRRP) or CCIP contracts to support purchase of essential commodities and supplies for local child care providers.

In order to obtain this flexibility, R&Rs must obtain prior CDE approval, prioritize the essential commodities and supplies for essential workers while this MB is in effect, and follow the contract-specific guidance detailed below.

CRRP: Resource and Referral programs receive funding, in part, to support family access to environments that are healthy and nurturing for their child’s care and development. Therefore,

  • After meeting the requirements of this directive, R&Rs may reallocate CRRP funding during the State of Emergency to purchase basic commodities for child care programs, including Tribal child care, that are serving essential workers and at-risk populations.
  • Purchased commodities must be related to providing environments that support healthy and nurturing child care settings, including mitigating and preventing the spread of the virus.

CCIP: The purpose of CCIP funding is to support and incentivize new or existing child care providers to become licensed or maintain a license. Therefore,

  • R&Rs may reallocate CCIP funding (either contract or grant funding) during the State of Emergency to purchase basic commodities for new or existing child care programs, including Tribal child care, that are serving essential workers and at-risk populations.
  • Purchased commodities must be related to the health and safety of children in child care settings and should be paired with other supports for licensing, such as access to training.

R&Rs requesting flexibility reallocating grant or contract funding to support providers should contact Gail Brodie at gbrodie@CDE.ca.gov for additional guidance.

Requirements for Health and Safety Hub Trainings

The R&R California Preventive Health and Safety Practices (CPHSP) training hubs staff and resources must prioritize providing health and safety training services, technical assistance and resource materials for providers, and support for local programs and providers caring for children of essential workers. Regional and local training staff should use statewide COVID-19 resources and training as they become available.

Additional Requirements for R&Rs

In light of the current public health emergency, R&Rs must:

  1. Develop a concise COVID-19 emergency response plan and submit to ELCDEmergency@cde.ca.gov by April 27, 2020, that describes how the R&R is:
    1. Publicizing referral services to essential worker populations (e.g., through hospitals and grocery stores),
    2. Providing referrals to match essential workers with open vacancies, ideally immediately in real time and in no less than 24 hours of requests,
    3. Collecting data on child care supply regularly and no less than twice weekly to know child care supply in real time (for example, what is the methodology for the data collection),
    4. Updating local R&R website with a link to the state and local COVID-19 resources as well as https://MyChildCare.ca.gov so providers can access training and tools to respond to the declared State of Emergency and families can locate available care,
    5. Inputting data into MCCP (for example, is the agency using MCCP as their database or will the R&R be providing required data to MCCP through an API),
    6. Keeping collected data secure,
    7. Utilizing CPHSP training hubs and other training resources to support COVID-19 appropriate practices.

The CDE and its partners can provide support to R&Rs that need assistance to complete this planning; please email ELCDEmergency@cde.ca.gov no later than April 20, 2020.

  1. Remain open, have phone lines, email accounts, and access to the referral database that can be accessed by employees remotely or safely in the agency office, in order to provide resources and child care referrals to essential workers, at-risk populations, and providers during the declared State of Emergency related to COVID-19.

  2. Update their websites to include resources for families, including a link to https://MyChildCare.ca.gov and applications for families of essential workers to apply for emergency child care support. The availability of these two essential supports must be prominently featured on the home pages of R&R agencies to quickly connect families. In addition, the local R&R website must include other relevant local, state, and national resources for families related to the COVID-19 public health emergency and finding child care in their community.

  3. Continue to work collaboratively with LPC partners, the CCL Child Care Regional Office serving the R&R’s defined geographic area, and the partners specified below to create a communication and outreach plan to communicate about newly-created spaces and ensure the information is shared with families in search of child care. Local partners must include, as appropriate, local Alternative Payment contractors, direct contract programs (center-based and family child care home educational networks operated by local education agencies and community-based organizations), the County Welfare Department and Public Health Department, child care provider organizations, and other local partners and programs.

  4. Conduct outreach to inform essential workers and at-risk populations of the availability of referrals to available child care in the local community and subsidized child care programs. Outreach should include, but not be limited to contacting local media, employers, and associations of essential workers of the availability of referrals and implementing the outreach plan developed collaboratively with other local agencies, including the County Welfare Department and Public Health Department.

  5. Continue to provide professional development and resources to child care providers, including licensed centers, family child care homes, license-exempt providers, and family friend and neighbor caregivers, and connect them with the local Quality Counts California consortium. Specifically, R&Rs must:
    1. Facilitate enrollment of providers, who are newly or currently open and providing care, in their local Quality Counts California consortia.
    2. Support access to virtual coaching and supports, as available, and online training on COVID-19-specific health and safety training, trauma informed care and Strengthening Families, and Parent Cafes, as they become available.

  6. Support the professional development and licensure and/or temporary waiver of a facility for potential emergency child care providers, including sharing new COVID-19-specific training and tools as they become available.

  7. Provide support to Family Friend and Neighbor (FFN) and Trust Line providers, including new FFN providers that provide care during the State of Emergency, that includes basic information on caring for children including: (1) critical emergency information; (2) business aspects (i.e. recordkeeping, contracts and policies, tax information); (3) health and safety information regarding COVID-19; and (4) other essential information including safe sleep, healthy environment, activities for children, appropriate expectations related to ages and stages of development, and how to support families.

  8. Coordinate discussion with available local LiveScan vendors, CDSS, and CCL Local Regional offices to support accessibility of LiveScan services, promptly assist with TrustLine applications, and communicate TrustLine status to applicant and relevant community partners.
Local Planning Councils

In light of the State of Emergency related to COVID-19, LPCs must:

  1. Refocus staffing and resources to support the local emergency response led by the R&Rs. LPCs must be an active part of developing these plans and contribute to their implementation.

  2. Remain open, have phone lines, email accounts, and access to up-to-date information that can be accessed by employees remotely, in order to provide resources and information to families of essential workers, at-risk populations, and providers during the declared State of Emergency related to COVID-19.

  3. Hold meetings in accordance with the Brown Act, as modified by Executive Order N-25-20, which authorizes local legislative bodies to hold public meetings telephonically, by teleconference, or by other electronic means.

  4. As a part of the local emergency child care response plan, assess ongoing local child care needs, prioritizing the needs of essential workers and at-risk populations, in partnership with the local R&Rs, local Quality Counts California consortium, local CCL Regional Office, local Alternative Payment contractors, direct contract programs (center-based and family child care home educational networks operated by local education agencies and community-based organizations), child care provider organizations, First 5 county commission, and nonprofit partnerships. If the state identifies statewide solutions for assessing vacancies and matching supply and demand emergency response, partners may be directed to utilize the statewide solution;

  5. Serve as a resource and support for the planning of local countywide child care services;

  6. Continue to work collaboratively with the local R&Rs to create a communication and outreach plan in coordination with the CDE contractors (e.g. local Alternative Payment contractors, direct contract programs, such as center-based and family child care home educational networks operated by local education agencies, and community-based organizations), County Welfare Departments, child care provider organizations, CCL Child Care Regional Offices, and other local partners and program. The communication and outreach plan will include information about newly created spaces and relay information to the local R&Rs to ensure the information is shared with families.

  7. Continue to partner with the local agencies to encourage best practices and provide strategies and resources to the field.

  8. As applicable, report or provide to county lead to report, newly emerging data about care for Essential Workers to the CDE and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS).

  9. As possible, deploy staff to support county’s overall action to connect Essential Workers to available child care spaces at the direction of the county lead.

Resources

Please continue to communicate regularly with your assigned ELCD Consultant regarding the LPC and R&R activities during this evolving public health emergency. If you have any questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned ELCD Consultant via the CDE Consultant Regional Assignments web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp or by phone at 916-322-6233.


List of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers: https://covid19.ca.gov/img/EssentialCriticalInfrastructureWorkers.pdf

Additional information regarding teleconferencing and the Brown Act: https://www.cacities.org/UploadedFiles/LeagueInternet/6e/6ed3a54b-6766-4b67-bee9-e024ea3a3d2b.pdf

Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health, “Telehealth Service in Infant Mental Health Home Visiting”: https://bit.ly/3acdTDd

The CDE developed a resource Web page that will include answers to frequently asked questions, all management bulletins issued to implement pertinent legislation, and other relevant resources: https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/elcdcovid19.asp

To be informed of the updated information, please sign up for Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) email list at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/progspeclist.asp.

A list of existing professional development opportunities supported by the CDE program quality efforts can be found on CDE’s website at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/cddprofdevtrain.asp.

A link to Best Practices for Planning Curriculum for Young Children: Responsive Early Education for Young Children and Families Experiencing Homelessness CDE 2019 will be posted soon.

The CDSS Community Care Licensing Division has developed Provider Information Notice (PIN) 20-04-CCP, which provides a statewide waiver for operation of child care facilities, including licensees, registered Trust Line providers, and temporary employer sponsored child care, along with guidance for the implementation of prevention, containment, and mitigation measures for COVID-19. This PIN and other directives, including guidance and new requirements on social and physical distancing, can be found on the CDSS website at https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing.

For more information about federal and state guidance and response to COVID-19, please refer to the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html, the California Department of Public Health’s website at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx, and the California COVID-19 Response website at https://covid19.ca.gov/.
________________________________
Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Thursday, April 16, 2020
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