Management Bulletin 20-13
Early Learning and Care Division
Subject: Family Fee Schedule for Fiscal Year 2020–21
Date: June 26, 2020
Expires: Until Rescinded
Authority: California Education Code sections 8236.3, 8263, 8263.1, 8273, 8273.1, and 8447(b) (1), (e) and (f).
Attention: Executive Directors and Program Directors of All Subsidized Early Learning and Care Programs except the Severely Handicapped Program
The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify contractors of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020–21 Family Fee Schedule that will become effective July 1, 2020, and provide guidance on recalculating family fees for currently enrolled families.
This MB rescinds and replaces MB 19-04.
California Education Code (EC) Section 8263.1 requires the Department of Finance (DOF) to update State Median Income (SMI) annually.
EC Section 8273 requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to establish a family fee schedule for families receiving early learning and care services, subject to the approval of the schedule by the Department of Finance. The SSPI is charged with designing the family fee schedule, based on the most current SMI, adjusted for family size.
EC Section 8273 further requires that the family fee schedule differentiate between full-time fees and part-time fees and that families be assessed a flat monthly fee. Assessment of the monthly fee is based on the following factors:
- Hours of certified need as documented on the application for services
- The family’s adjusted monthly income
- Family size
For guidance on family fees for Emergency Childcare, please refer to MB 20-06a and any other directives released to implement the Budget Act of 2020–21.
Effective July 1, 2020, contractors must use the current FY 2020–21 Family Fee Schedule available at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/familyfeeschedulejul2020.xlsx when assessing fees as follows:
- Recalculating family fees for currently enrolled families as directed below
- At initial certification
- At recertification, or
- When a family requests a reduction to their family fees
The following families are exempt from paying family fees:
- Families with children who have been identified as at risk of abuse or neglect may be exempt from paying a family fee for 12 months when the referral indicates that the fee is waived (EC 8273.1[a]).
- Families with children who are receiving Child Protective Services may be exempt from paying a family fee for 12 months when the referral indicates that the fee is waived (EC 8273.1[a]).
- Families receiving California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) cash aid (EC 8273.1[b]).
- Families with children receiving part-day California state preschool program (CSPP) services as described in EC Section 8235(e) (EC 8273.1[c]).
- Families receiving Severely Disabled Program (CHAN) services (EC 8250[d]).
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. Pursuant to EC Section 8273 (f), fees may only be assessed at certification and recertification unless a parent requests a reduction to their family fees.
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.
Families who were certified based on an eligibility criterion other than income and who are not exempt from fees as described above, are required to be assessed a fee. Families whose incomes are not represented on the annual family fee schedule, shall be required to pay the highest fee rate on the chart for their family size.
Recalculating Family Fees for Currently Enrolled Families
Currently enrolled families that were assessed a family fee based on the FY 2019–20 family fee schedule must have their family fee recalculated effective July 1, 2020. Agencies have until September 1, 2020, to complete this process.
Contractors must review records for all currently enrolled families who have been assessed a family fee and recalculate the family’s fee as follows:
- Using existing documentation, recalculate the family fee using the FY 2020–21 Family Fee Schedule. No additional information is required, and must not be requested.
- If the assessment results in an increased fee, no action is necessary and the family’s fee remain the same until recertification, unless the family requests a reduction.
- If the family fee recalculation results in a reduced family fee, the contractor must issue a Notice of Action (NOA) in accordance with California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 18119 reflecting the new family fee. The effective date of the NOA must be July 1, 2020. In addition, 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.
Note: While effective dates of NOAs are normally prospective in nature, this action must be implemented as of July 1, 2020, to give families the benefit of the reduction in fees. Families will still have an opportunity to appeal the calculation of their family fees 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.
Agencies needing additional time to complete this process must contact their Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant prior to July 31, 2020, to request an extension.
At Initial Certification
At initial certification, contractors must determine whether the family will be assessed a fee, in accordance with 5 CCR 18109.
- For newly enrolled families with predictable schedules, contractors will assess fees using the total monthly certified need as documented in the application for services.
- When assessing family fees for families with unpredictable or variable schedules (as described in, Section 18086(b)(2)(D) and 18086(c)(2) of the 12-Month Eligibility Implementation Guidance (Implementation Guidance), issued with MB 17-14, the contractor will use the certified schedule documentation collected to determine need to average the total hours needed during the four (4) weeks immediately preceding the initial certification. The average number of hours calculated will determine whether the family will pay a part-time or a full-time fee. 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.
When the initial enrollment is not on the first day of the month, the contractor must assess a fee based on the certified hours for the partial month and another fee for subsequent months based on the certified need as documented in the application for services. For example, 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.
All families will have their family fees reassessed during the annual recertification process. Contractors will continue to assess fees for families with predictable schedules using the total monthly certified need as documented in the application for services.
For families with variable or unpredictable work schedules, the contractor will reassess the fee by using the certified schedule documentation collected to determine need to average the total hours needed during the four weeks immediately preceding the recertification. The average number of hours calculated will determine whether the family will pay a part-time or a full-time fee.
A NOA must be issued upon recertification if there is a change in the family fee. Changes in fees take effect as follows:
- If a decreased family fee is assessed, the fee will become effective on the first day of the month after the NOA is issued.
- If a new or increased family fee is assessed, the fee will become effective on the first day of the month after the appeal request period has expired.
- Families have an opportunity to appeal their family fee assessment 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 an appeal is filed, the new fee will not be implemented until the first day of the month after the appeal process is exhausted. The reassessed fee must be collected monthly in accordance with 5 CCR.
Parent request for reduction to the family fee
Families that request a reduction to their family fee in accordance with Section 18084.2(a) of the Implementation Guidance issued with MB 17-14 will have their fee assessed as follows:
- For families with predictable work schedules, the contractor will use the total monthly certified need as documented in the application for services.
- For families with variable or unpredictable work schedules, the contractor will use the certified schedule documentation collected to determine need to average the total hours needed during the four weeks immediately preceding the assessment. The average number of hours calculated will determine whether the family will pay a part-time or a full-time fee.
A NOA must be issued only when a fee reduction is assessed. Changes in fees take effect as follows:
- If a decreased family fee is assessed, the fee will become effective on the first day of the month after the NOA is issued.
- If the assessment results in an increased fee, no action is necessary and the family fees remain the same until recertification.
When certifying families with school-age children for FY 2020–21, contractors must certify the family based on the vacation/non-school schedule. If schools reopen, families may request a reduction to their family fee based on the school schedule.
Additionally, the CSPP, General Child Care (CCTR), Family Child Care Home Education Networks (CFCC), Migrant Child Care (CMIG) contractors shall factor in the Program Calendar to assess the fee and include in the NOA which months the part-time and/or full-time fees apply. For example, if a school is closed for two (2) weeks in December, a family that was assessed a full-time fee would be assessed a part-time fee for that month if the anticipated hours of care were below 130 hours for that month, and this would be documented in the NOA.
Families that are certified for CSPP services based on residing within the school boundaries of a school where 80% of the enrolled students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, must self-certify their income and family size and need for service in order determine their family fee. For more information on enrollment for these children, please see MB 20-01.
Other Relevant Information
For information on the revision to the State Median Income, please see MB 20-12: Revised State Median Income Ceilings and Income Ranking Table for Fiscal Year 2020–21 at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb2012.asp.
For Sections 18084.2 and 18086 of the 12-Month Eligibility Implementation Guidance (Implementation Guidance) and MB 17-14, please visit the 12-Month Eligibility web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb1714.asp.
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 https://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 Learning and Care Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant. A list of consultants can be found on the ELCD Consultant Regional Assignments web page at https://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.