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Management Bulletin 20-15a


Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Reimbursement and Data Collection Requirements for Alternative Payment Programs and Providers

Number: 20-15(a)

Date: September 2020

Expires: June 30, 2021

Authority: Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) and SB 820 (Chapter 111, Statutes of 2020)

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Administrators of California Alternative Payment Programs (CAPP), including California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) Stage 2 (C2AP), CalWORKs Stage 3 (C3AP), and Migrant Alternative Payment Program (CMAP)


Purpose

This Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify and provide updated guidance to California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP), CalWORKs Stage 2 (C2AP), CalWORKs Stage 3 (C3AP), and Migrant Alternative Payment Program (CMAP) contractors on:

  1. Guidance on parent signatures on monthly attendance records or invoices.
  2. Guidance on serving school-age children during distance learning.
  3. Guidance on additional days of non-operation closures due to COVID-19.
  4. Additional data collection requirements for all Alternative Payment (AP) programs.

Previous guidance in MB 20-15 still holds true. The MB 20-15 provides guidance on:

  1. Reimbursing providers based on the family’s certified need.
  2. Providing written notification (i.e. Child Care certificates or Notices of Action) to providers regarding changes to a family's level of services, including reimbursement amount and/or family fee.
  3. New Data collection requirements for non-CalWORKs AP programs.

Background

The California Education Code (EC) Section 8221.5 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, (5 CCR) currently set requirements for AP contractors to reimburse childcare providers, including license-exempt providers.

UPDATED: The EC Section 8221.5 also specifies the requirements for parent and/or guardian signatures on the monthly attendance record/invoices. The EC Section states that the attendance record and/or invoice, at a minimum, must be signed by the provider and the parent or guardian of the child receiving services. Pursuant to the email dated August 7,2020, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI), under the authority provided by EC Section 8209, temporarily waived for July and August 2020 the parent signature requirement if the provider has documented attempts to obtain the signature and the parent is not available due to COVID-19. The passing of SB 820 enacted a permanent waiver of EC Section 8221.5(b) from July 2020 to June 2021 so long as there is documentation of the provider's attempts to collect a signature from the parent and all other requirements in the statute have been met.

The 5 CCR Section 18076.2 states that CAPP, C2AP, C3AP, and CMAP contractors may not reimburse providers during “scheduled instructional minutes” of a public or private educational program that the child is enrolled and attending.

The EC Section 8263(h) establishes 12-month eligibility and changes to services can only be made at recertification or when a family voluntarily requests a change, in accordance with 5 CCR Section 18084.2 of the 12-month Implementation Guidance released in MB 17-14.

The 5 CCR sections 18094, 18095, 18118, 18419, and 18434 require that agencies serve a Notice of Action (NOA) to families at certification, recertification, or approval of the parent’s voluntary request for changes to their service agreement.

The EC Section 8359(a) requires county welfare departments and AP programs to, on a monthly basis, provide data about childcare usage and demand in each of the three (3) stages of CalWORKs to the California Department of Education (CDE) or the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), whichever is appropriate, and to their Local Planning Council (LPC).

Similar to the monthly data collected from the three (3) stages of CalWORKs required by EC 8359(a), SB 98 added EC Section 8227.8, requiring all AP programs, including CAPP and CMAP, contractors to report data about childcare caseload in the program and other key variables on a monthly basis to the Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services (CDNFS) to determine any additional state allocations to these programs for the purpose of emergency response.

On June 29, 2020, the Governor signed Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) which includes additional funding to support state-subsidized childcare providers, including centers, family childcare homes, and license-exempt providers, serving children through an AP program, including CAPP, C2AP, C3AP, and CMAP. Specifically, SB 98 allocated $62.5 million to support the AP programs, including CAPP, C2AP, C3AP, and CMAP, so that AP agencies are able to reimburse providers based on the certified need, regardless of attendance, through June 30, 2021, or until funding is exhausted, whichever is sooner.

UPDATED: On September 18, 2020, the Governor signed SB 820 (Chapter 111, Statutes of 2020) which includes additional funding to support alternative payment providers to be reimbursed for up to 14 non-operational days that are due to a state or local public health order/guidance related to COVID-19. These 14 COVID-19 related non-operational days are in addition to the 10 current non-operational days allowable by 5 CCR Section 18076.2(b)(2). This provision is effective between September 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

UPDATED: On September 18, 2020, the Governor signed SB 820 (Chapter 111, Statutes of 2020) which includes additional directives and laws around providing a notification to providers. Thus, EC Section 8227.7, effective July 1, 2020, specifies that AP agencies must issue a written notification to a childcare provider when an NOA is issued to the family. Specifically, the provider must be notified of any changes to reimbursement amounts, changes in certified need, an increase or decrease in family fees, disenrollment of services, and when the family changes providers.

This authority applies to the following programs: CAPP, C2AP, C3AP, and CMAP. The guidance below responds to this topic.

Policy

Effective July 1, 2020, and until funding is exhausted, AP contractors must reimburse AP providers, including license-exempt providers, based on the families’ certified need, notwithstanding the requirements set forth in EC Section 8221.5, as outlined in the guidance below. The CDE will distribute these funds to AP contractors through contract amendments in September 2020.

Effective July 1, 2020, AP contractors must, at the same time families are sent a NOA, send a written notice to the AP provider. Specifically, the provider must be notified of any changes to reimbursement amounts, change in certified need, increase or decrease in family fees, disenrollment of services, and when the family change providers.

Effective July 1, 2020, AP contractors must submit data monthly to CDNFS, as instructed below.

UPDATED: Effective July 1, 2020, contractors must reimburse providers who submit an attendance record or invoice without a parent signature so long as there is documentation of the provider’s attempts to contact the parent to obtain the signature.

UPDATED: Effective July 1, 2020, providers must be reimbursed for services provided during the time a school-age child is participating in Transitional Kindergarten (TK) -12 distance learning and is attending the childcare program during the typical school hours.

UPDATED: Effective September 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, AP contractors must reimburse providers for up to 14 COVID-19 related non-operational days, in addition to the current non-operational days allowable by 5 CCR Section 18076.2(b)(2). Reimbursements shall be made to providers until funds are exhausted.

Directive

UPDATED: Reimbursing Alternative Payment Providers based on Certified Need

Contractors must use these funds to provide reimbursement to AP providers who remain open, including license-exempt providers, through June 30, 2021, or until the funding is exhausted, whichever is sooner. This funding will be used to reimburse providers based on the family’s certified need for services, under the following scenarios:

  • Providers must be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care, regardless of attendance.
  • For families certified for variable schedules, providers shall be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
  • For license-exempt providers that provide part-time services, providers shall be reimbursed based on the maximum authorized hours of care.
UPDATED: Attendance Records and Signatures

Pursuant to EC Section 8221.5, attendance records and invoices must include the dates and times in and out documented on a daily basis and must be signed by both the provider and the parent. If the child is not in attendance the provider must indicate the reason for absence, i.e. family sheltering in place.

Effective July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, contractors must reimburse providers who submit an attendance record or invoice without a parent signature when the absence of a parent signature is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and there is documentation of the provider’s attempts to collect the signature. When the attendance record or invoice is submitted without the parent’s signature, an attestation statement from the provider must be provided with the attendance record or invoice. The attestation, signed under penalty of perjury, must indicate the provider made attempts to contract the parent and that the parent was not available for signature due to COVID-19. A sample attestation is included for your convenience.

Example: By signing and submitting this attendance record or invoice without the parent’s signature, I attest, under the penalty of perjury, that I have made and documented attempts to contact the parent, and the parent is either unavailable or unable to sign this attendance records/invoice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EC sections 8221.5 and 8262.1 allow contractors and providers to use digital signatures. Software that use digital signatures is reimbursable within contract funds.

As always, the AP contractors should continue to work with families to ensure retention of certified childcare services. Any change to the certified need must be based upon a request by the parent in accordance with EC 8263(h).

UPDATED: School-Aged Children and Reimbursement

Since TK–12 distance learning does not provide supervision for children, the CDE does not consider it to be “scheduled instructional minutes” for the purposes of 5 CCR 18076.2 prohibiting reimbursing providers during the hours of a child’s “scheduled instructional minutes.” Therefore, providers shall be reimbursed for care during the time a school-age child participating in TK–12 distance learning and attending the childcare program during the typical school hours.

If the child is participating in a hybrid model (in-person TK–12 instruction and distance learning) the provider may only be reimbursed for the time the child is not receiving in-person TK–12 instruction. Contractors shall reimburse providers for the time the child is receiving TK-12 distance learning while attending the childcare program. Conversely contractors shall not reimburse providers for any time the child is receiving TK-12 in-person instruction. Contractors are responsible for budgeting their contract funds to ensure providers will be reimbursed for an increase in the cost of the care associated with school-age children that are participating in distance learning.

UPDATED: Additional Non-operational Days due to COVID-19

The SB 820 allocated $31.25 million to support Alternative Payment programs for the purpose of providing reimbursement to providers for an additional 14 non-operational days for closures due to COVID-19, in addition to the 10 non-operational days authorized in 5 CCR 18076.2(b)(2), beginning September 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Alternative payment programs, are required to track the usage of non-operational days and associated reimbursement amounts and report data to the CDE every month. Providers are required to mark on their attendance records and/or invoices any COVID-19 related closure days. Reimbursements shall be made to providers until funds are exhausted.

Notification to Provider

Pursuant to EC 8227.7, beginning July 1, 2020, AP contractors must provide a written notice, with the effective date of the action, to the AP provider. This notice must be issued on the same day the NOA is issued to a family. The provider notice is to be issued when the following changes occur:

  • reimbursement amounts
  • certified need (days and/or hours of care)
  • schedules
  • rates
  • increase or decrease to family fees
  • disenrollment from services
  • change of provider

The provider notice must be issued either electronically, if requested by the childcare provider, or via the United States Postal Service. The notification shall not be deemed a violation of the parent’s confidentiality but as a method to ensure the proper administration of subsidy funds.

UPDATED: Data Collection

Currently, pursuant to EC Section 8359(a), all C2AP and C3AP contractors must submit monthly CalWORKs Stage 2 and Stage 3 caseload and fiscal reports to CDNFS.

Effective July 1, 2020, all CAPP and CMAP contractors are required to report monthly caseload and fiscal data to CDNFS. The following data elements are to be reported to CDNFS, beginning with the July 2020 reporting period, regardless of the contractor’s contract status:

  • county-by-county caseload
  • expenditures
  • unit costs
  • family fees
  • other key costs of care variables requested by the CDE used to determine any additional state allocations to these programs for purposes of the emergency response.

Monthly Caseload and Fiscal reports must be submitted electronically at https://www2.cde.ca.gov/cdfs/ and are due by the 20th of the month, following the month of the reported data.

  • All CAPP and CMAP contractors will continue to use their existing log in to submit fiscal reports through the web site listed above.
  • The CDE is in the process of updating the current caseload report form that is currently submitted by C2AP and C3AP contractors to include a section for CAPP and CMAP caseload reporting.
  • All CAPP and CMAP contractors will be required to submit caseload data associated with emergency childcare enrollments, as well as caseload data associated with ongoing enrollments.
  • The revised caseload report was made available prior to August 20, 2020, so that contractors could meet the July 2020 reporting deadline.

Note: If a contractor provides services in more than one (1) county, the contractor will be required to submit a separate Caseload Report for each county in which services are being provided. Each report shall include a certification of the person authorized by the contractor that the information contained in the report is correct and complete.

Pursuant to SB 820, contractors are required to report to the CDE the use of the 14 additional nonoperational days due to COVID-19 and associated costs. Therefore, effective September 1, 2020, all C2AP, C3AP, CAPP, and CMAP contractors will be required to report data associated with provider non-operation days for instances when a child received care from a secondary provider. This information will be utilized to reimburse providers with the $31.25 million provided in SB 820 until funding is exhausted. The data required by AP’s for this purpose is:

  • Number of children requiring care from a secondary provider
  • Sum of all days children received care from a secondary provider
  • Total cost associated with paying secondary providers due to the primary provider’s closure

The CDNFS will revise reports to allow for this data collection beginning the September 2020 report due October 20, 2020.

Resources

The CDE, ELCD has developed a COVID-19 pandemic guidance and resource page that includes answers to frequently asked questions, all MBs issued to implement pertinent legislation, and other relevant resources at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/elcdcovid19.asp.

To be informed of updated information, please sign up for ELCD’s email list at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/progspeclist.asp.

For more information about CDSS Community Care Licensing Division, which provides guidance social and physical distance, ratio and group sizes, and healthy practices during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit their website at  https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/community-care-licensing.

For more information about California Department of Public Health’s guidance on small group sizes and cohorts, please visit: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/small-groups-child-youth.aspx.

For more information about federal and state guidance and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html, the California Department of Public Health’s Web site at https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/ncov2019.aspx, and the California COVID-19 Response Web site at https://covid19.ca.gov/.

For more information about COVID-19 guidance from the Office of Head Start, including the Collaborating Actively in Meaning Planning (CAMP) series, please visit their Web site at https://eclkc.ohss.acf.hss.gov/about-us/coronavirus/responding-covid-19.

If you have 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.

Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6223
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, September 22, 2020
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