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Management Bulletin 21-07


Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Updated Reopening and Reimbursement Requirements for Direct Service Contractors

Number: 21-07

Date: April 16, 2021

Expires: June 30, 2021

Authority: Senate Bill (SB) 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) and SB 820 (Chapter 110, Statutes of 2020), Assembly Bill (AB) 82 (Chapter 6, Statutes of 2021)

Attention: Executive Directors and Program Administrators of General Child Care and Development Programs (CCTR); California State Preschool Programs (CSPP); California Family Child Care Homes Education Networks (CFCC); Programs for Children with Severe Disabilities (CHAN); Migrant Child Care and Development Programs (CMIG).


Purpose

The purpose of this Management Bulletin (MB) is to rescind and replace MB 20-18 and to notify and provide updated guidance based on the passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 82 to General Child Care and Development Programs (CCTR); California State Preschool Programs (CSPP); California Family Child Care Homes Education Networks (CFCC); Severely Disabled Programs (CHAN); Migrant Child Care and Development Programs (CMIG) direct service contractors regarding reopening and reimbursement requirements.

This MB provides implementation guidance on the following:

  1. Programs that are open or reopen
  2. Programs that close due to a local or state public health order or guidance
  3. Programs that close without a local or state public health order or guidance
  4. Programs that are closed due to a non-COVID-19-related emergency
  5. Reimbursement for providers who serve children through a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contract in a family child care home education network
  6. Reimbursement for CFCC providers
  7. Prioritization for services
  8. Reimbursement requirements for school age children
  9. Data reporting requirements, attendance and expenditure reporting requirements

Updated information in this MB, pursuant to AB 82, is in bold lettering and pertains to the items above as follows:

  • Item five (5) and six (6) above have been added regarding 30 additional non-operational days for COVID-19-related closures for providers who serve children through a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contract in a family childcare home education network and for providers who serve children through a CFCC contract, respectively.
  • Item nine (9) above includes updated information pursuant to AB 82 regarding the attendance and expenditure reporting requirements for CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network, and for CFCC contractors.

The updated information in this MB is effective April 16, 2021, and is retroactive to September 2020 due to legislative action. All other information in this MB is aligned with the guidance previously issued in MB 20-18.

Policy

For Fiscal Year (FY) 2020–21, the direct service contractors listed above are to be reimbursed the lesser of 100 percent of the contract’s Maximum Reimbursable Amount (MRA) or net reimbursable program costs in accordance with the implementation guidance below. In order to be reimbursed pursuant to the limits defined in California Education Code (EC) Section 8209(f), direct service contractors, must either:

  1. Physically open to provide early learning or childcare services for enrolled families by September 8, 2020, or within 21 calendar days from the start date of the contracting agency’s FY 2020–21 approved program calendar, whichever is sooner; and remain open and offer services through the 2020–21 program year; or
  2. Not physically open by September 8, 2020, or within 21 calendar days from the start date of the contracting agency’s FY 2020–21 approved program calendar, due to local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare that prevents the program from reopening; or
  3. Physically re-open by September 8, 2020, or within 21 calendar days from the start date of the contracting agency’s FY 2020–21 approved program calendar, with any future days of closure being due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare; or
  4. Operate programs on Local Education Agency (LEA) campuses, as defined in EC 8208(a)(l), that are closed due to local or state public health guidance or orders, and the LEA has required a closure of the early learning or childcare program, provided that the following requirements are met:
    1. The LEA authority that required the closure of the early learning or childcare program has submitted a written verification that the early learning or childcare program may not reopen, and
    2. The LEA authority shall discuss in a public hearing and prepare a plan for safely reopening the early learning or childcare program as soon as safely possible, but no later than when an LEA campus opens for in-person instruction

For the purpose of this MB, a local or state public health order or guidance may include written orders, advisories, or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare issued by a local or state government agency.

Effective July 1, 2020, CFCC contractors are to 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.

Direct service contractors are required to prioritize children and families for in-person services when capacity is limited due to a local or state public health order related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare.

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

Contractors are required to certify that families are eligible for services for no less than 12 months, once they have established eligibility or ongoing eligibility. Direct service contractors are required to recertify families in a timely manner, however recertification of families may be postponed when social distancing requirements cannot be met. Families should be recertified when it is feasibly safe to do so.

In addition to the above, effective September 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network, as well as CFCC contractors, are required to reimburse providers for up to 30 non-operational days of closure when the provider closes due to COVID-19-related issues and the provider is not reimbursed as the result of a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19, and specific to early learning or childcare.

CFCC providers are still entitled to the 10 non-operational days allowable by 5 CCR Section 18076.2, as made applicable to CFCC contracts, pursuant to 5 CCR Section 18074.

Reimbursements to providers must be made as specified in the directives below.

Note: Reimbursement for Alternative Payment Program (APP) providers for additional non-operational days for closures related to COVID-19 is addressed in MB 21-06.

Implementation

Programs That Are Open or Are Reopening

Direct service contractors that are physically open to provide early learning and care services to enrolled families by September 8, 2020, or within 21 calendar days from the start date of the contracting agency’s approved FY 2020–21 program calendar; whichever is sooner, and remain open throughout the program year, will be reimbursed based on the lesser of net reimbursable program costs or the contract’s MRA.

To the extent possible, program sites and classrooms must be physically open and accessible to all currently enrolled families that require services. Direct service contractors operating multiple sites/classrooms may consolidate sites/classrooms if parent demand for services is low at some sites/classrooms, as long as the alternate sites/classrooms are reasonably accessible for all enrolled families. When it is not possible to provide services for all enrolled families due to a local or state public health order or guidance limiting group sizes, direct service contractors must prioritize services as specified below.

When there is not a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare that requires closure of the early learning or childcare program, offering only distance learning services does not qualify as being open. However, direct service contractors must provide distance learning services, as specified in MB 20-17, for children and families who are not receiving in-person services, including for families who are sheltering in place.

Direct service contractors will be required to submit data related to sites providing services on a quarterly basis. Additional information regarding this requirement will be forthcoming from the CDE.

Programs That Close Due to a Local or State Public Health Order

Direct service contractors that are required to close all sites/classrooms, including direct service contractors that open and subsequently close all sites/classrooms any time during FY 2021-21, due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, must complete and submit the Notification of Closure Due to Public Health Order template within 30 days of the closure. The Notification of Closure Due to a Public Health Order template can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/closurenotificationpublic.pdf. A copy of the local or state public health order or guidance and completed template must be submitted to the assigned ELCD, Program Quality Implementation (PQI) Office regional consultant in order for the direct service contractor to be reimbursed. When the public health order or guidance does not specify a date for reopening, the contractor must include a plan for reopening.

The LEA and community-based organization (CBO) direct service contractors whose programs are located on an LEA campus and who are unable to reopen, or who open and subsequently close anytime during FY 2020–21 due to mandated campus closures (as described in policy item number four (4) above) may remain closed and will be reimbursed based on the lesser of net reimbursable program costs or the contract’s MRA, provided the following requirements are met:

The contractor must complete and submit to their assigned CDE, ELCD regional consultant the “Verification of Closures” template, located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/verificationofclosure.pdf, which includes the following:

  • A statement that the governing authority of the LEA will discuss in a public hearing the LEA or community-based organization early learning or childcare program closure, and will prepare a plan for safely reopening the early learning or childcare program.
  • The signature of the governing authority of the LEA requiring the closure of the LEA or community-based organization early learning or childcare program. In accordance with EC Section 8262.1 contractors may, but are not required to use digital signatures.

Direct service contractors who are closed according to the above requirements, meet the requirements for submission of a distance learning plan, and offer distance learning services for children and families not receiving in-person services, pursuant to MB 20-17, will be reimbursed for FY 2020–21 based on the lesser of net reimbursable program costs or the contract’s MRA.

Programs That Close Without a Local or State Public Health Order

With the exception of CFCC contractors, and CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network (see below), direct service contractors that do not reopen within the specified timeline and/or that are closed, but not due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare; or are without verification of the mandated closure of the LEA campus, as described above; will not be reimbursed for any period of time that the program is not in operation. Similarly, those contractors that open by the timeframe set forth in EC 8209(f), and subsequently close for reasons not due to the issuance of local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, or are without verification of a mandated closure for the LEA campus, as described above, will not be reimbursed for any period of time that the program is not in operation, unless the closure is otherwise currently allowed pursuant to EC 8271, and in accordance with MB 20-20: “Non-COVID-19 Emergency Closure Requests for Fiscal Year 2020–21.” MB 20-20 can be located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb2020.asp.

With the exception of CFCC contractors, and CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network (see below), a direct service contractor that does not open according to the above timeline, or subsequently closes without a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, or without verification of a mandated closure for the LEA campus, as described above, must submit a revised FY 2020–21 program calendar and program narrative change to their assigned ELCD Regional Consultant to ensure that the correct minimum days of operation (MDO) are reflected in their contract. Reimbursement will be limited to days when the program was in operation for in-person services. In this case, the contract will be amended to prorate the contract’s MRA based on the number of days the contractor was physically open.

Programs That are Closed Due to a Non-COVID-19-Related Emergency

While EC Section 8209(f) addresses reimbursement for contracting agencies that closed in FY 2020–21 due to issues related to COVID-19, there will be instances that some contracting agencies are unable to operate for non-COVID-related reasons. Direct service contractors that are closed due to an emergency not related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as earthquakes, fire, flood, or other circumstances beyond their control, must submit an Emergency Closure, in accordance with MB 20-20: “Non-COVID-19 Emergency Closure Requests for Fiscal Year 2020–21.”

Reimbursement for CCTR, CSPP and CMIG Providers Who Serve Children Through a Family Child Care Home Education Network

The CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network shall reimburse providers who are physically open and providing services to enrolled families; or who are closed due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare. 

Additionally, effective September 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, when a provider who serves children through a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG family childcare home education network is closed for a reason that is not related to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, the CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contractor must reimburse providers for up to 30 non-operational days for other closures related to COVID-19. Pursuant to AB 82, reimbursements shall be made to an alternate provider, when applicable, until funds are exhausted.

Note: The California Department of Education (CDE) does not anticipate funding for reimbursing alternate providers for up to 30 days to be exhausted.

The CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contractor shall only reimburse providers who serve children through the family childcare home education network when they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Physically open and providing services to enrolled families
  • Closed due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare
  • Closed for up to 30 days due to COVID-19 but not specific to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 for which the contractor receives reimbursement

The Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) recognizes the legislative directive is retroactive in nature. Some providers may have already had closures related to COVID-19 prior to the signing of AB 82. This may require contractors to process adjustments that were not previously reimbursed for non-operational days of closure for closures related to COVID-19 that were not claimed by providers since September 1, 2020. Contractors must notify providers of the retroactive legislative directive and provide them with the option of requesting an adjustment to be reimbursed for retroactive closures related to COVID-19 for which the provider was not previously reimbursed. The ELCD strongly encourages contractors to process these adjustments as quickly as possible, but no later than June 30, 2021.

Pursuant to MB 20-17, CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network are required to collaborate with providers to ensure continued program quality and to deliver distance learning services to enrolled families that are unable to access services because the provider is closed, or because of capacity limitations due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare.

A provider serving children in a family childcare home education network under a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contract must be reimbursed based on the family’s certified need, regardless of attendance. For families certified for a variable schedule, for FY 2020–21 providers must be reimbursed based on the greater of:

  • The average documented attendance over the most recent four weeks; or
  • Actual attendance

Providers who serve children through a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG family childcare home education network are required to indicate on their attendance records and/or invoices any non-operational days for other closures related to COVID-19, up to a total of 30 non-operational days.

Reimbursement for CFCC Family Child Care Home Education Network Providers

Effective September 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, when a CFCC provider is closed for a reason that is not related to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, the CFCC contractor must reimburse providers for up to 30 non-operational days of closure for other closures related to COVID-19. Pursuant to AB 82, reimbursements shall be made to an alternate provider, when applicable, until funds are exhausted.

Note: The CDE does not anticipate funding for reimbursing alternate providers for up to 30 days to be exhausted.

CFCC providers are still entitled to the 10 non-operational days allowable by 5 CCR Section 18076.2, as made applicable to CFCC contracts pursuant to 5 CCR Section 18074.

The CFCC contractors shall only reimburse providers who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Physically open and providing services to enrolled families;
  • Closed due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare
  • Close for up to 10 non-operational days allowable by 5 CCR Section 18076.2.
  • Close for up to 30 days due to COVID-19, but not specific to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 for which the CFCC contractor receives reimbursement

The ELCD recognizes the legislative directive is retroactive in nature. Some providers may have already had closures related to COVID-19 prior to the signing of AB 82.  This may require contractors to process adjustments that were not previously reimbursed for non-operational days of closure for closures related to COVID-19 that were not claimed by providers since September 1, 2020. Contractors must notify providers of the retroactive legislative directive and provide them with the option of requesting an adjustment to be reimbursed for retroactive closures related to COVID-19 for which the provider was not reimbursed. The ELCD strongly encourages contractors to process these adjustments as quickly as possible, but no later than June 30, 2021.

Pursuant to MB 20-17, CFCC contractors are required to collaborate with providers to ensure continued program quality and to deliver distance learning services to enrolled families that are unable to access services because the provider is closed, or because of capacity limitations due to a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare.

The CFCC providers must be reimbursed based on the family’s certified need, regardless of attendance. For families certified for a variable schedule, for FY 2020–21 providers must be reimbursed based on the greater of:

  • The average documented attendance over the most recent four weeks; or
  • Actual attendance

Providers who serve children under a CFCC contract must continue to submit attendance records and/or invoices in accordance with EC Section 8221.5. Providers are required to indicate on their attendance records and/or invoices any non-operational days of closure related to COVID-19, up to a total of 30 non-operational days. The EC Sections 8221.5 and 8262.1 allow contractors and providers to use digital signatures. Purchasing of software with ability to use digital signatures is reimbursable within contract funds.

Effective July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, CFCC 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 contact 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 record/invoice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As always, the CFCC contractor should continue to work with families to ensure the 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)(4).

Prioritization for Services

Families with a Certified Need for Services

When capacity is limited due to a local or state public health order related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, i.e. group size restrictions, direct service contractors must prioritize families with a certified need for in-person services in the following priority order:

  • Children who are the recipients of Child Protective Services through a county welfare department
  • Children who have been identified as at-risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation by a legally qualified health professional
  • Families who require services because the parents work outside the home, with the lowest income ranking in relation to family size. When two families have the same income ranking, the child with exceptional needs must receive in-person services. If there is no child with exceptional needs, the family that has been receiving services for the longest length of time shall be prioritized for in-person services. For CSPP contractors, priority must be given to four-year-old children before three-year-old children.
  • Families who are not working outside of the home, including those with who meet other eligibility and/need criteria, i.e. incapacitation, seeking employment,) with the lowest income ranking in relation to family size. When two families have the same income ranking, the child with exceptional needs must receive in-person services. If there is no child with exceptional needs, the family that has been receiving services for the longest length of time shall be prioritized for in-person services. For CSPP contractors, priority must be given to four-year-old children before three-year old children.

Families that are receiving in-person services must not be displaced if another family with a higher priority is requesting in-person services.

NOTE: Enrolled families are certified for no less than twelve months and must not be disenrolled due to capacity limitations. Any families not receiving in-person services must be offered distance learning services.

Part-Day CSPP

Because families whose children are enrolled in a part-day CSPP do not have a certified need, part-day CSPP contractors are encouraged to develop models that provide in-person services to as many children as possible. Contractors may elect to offer enrolled children and families a combination of alternating both in-person and distance learning services in order to provide some level of in-person services to all enrolled children and families. When a part-day CSPP contractor chooses not to utilize such a schedule in order to accommodate all families, or is unable to offer in-person services for all enrolled children and families, the contractor must adhere to the prioritization for services specified in EC 8236 (a)(1)(2), as follows:

  • Three or four-year-old children who are the recipients of Child Protective Services through a county welfare department
  • Three or four-year-old children who have been identified as at-risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation by a legally qualified health professional
  • Four-year-old children who are not enrolled in transitional kindergarten, with the lowest income ranking in relation to family size
  • Three-year-old children with the lowest income ranking in relation to family size

Families that are receiving in-person services must not be displaced if another family with a higher priority is requesting in-person services.

NOTE: Once families are certified for part-day CSPP, they are eligible for services for the program year and must not be disenrolled due to capacity limitations. Any families not receiving in-person services must be offered distance learning services.

Reimbursement Requirements for School-Aged Children

Since Transitional Kindergarten (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, direct service contractors and providers who serve children through a family childcare home education network shall be reimbursed for care during the time a school-aged child is 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 direct service contractor or providers who serve children through a family childcare home education network 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. Direct service 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-aged children that are participating in distance learning.

Data Reporting Requirements

Attendance and Expenditure Reporting for CCTR, CSPP and CMIG Contractors

For FY 2020–21, direct service contractors will be reimbursed at the lesser of the contract’s MRA or net reimbursable program costs when they meet the policy directives specified above. Therefore, for FY 2020–21, CCTR, CSPP, CHAN, and CMIG contractors will be reimbursed without regard to enrollment or attendance. If the days of closure are not attributable to closure by a local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, or without verification of a mandated closure for the LEA campus, or due to a non-COVID-19 emergency closure under EC 8271, the contractor’s MRA will be pro-rated by the days of operation that the contractor was not open to provide services.

The CDE will use the submitted expenditure data to determine contract earnings and reimbursement. In accordance with 5 CCR Section 18068 and the FY 2020–21 Funding Terms & Conditions (FT&C), all contractors shall be required to submit attendance and fiscal reports to the Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services (CDNFS) office in the timeframes set forth, based on their contract status. Direct service contractors, whether providing in-person or distance learning services, are required to report the days of enrollment for all children receiving services in the program, as well as attendance for all children physically attending the program.

The CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network are now required to report to the CDE through the Child Development Provider Accounting Reporting Information System (CPARIS) the use of the 30 non-operational days for closures related to COVID-19, and associated costs, when the primary provider is closed, and the child receives care from an alternate provider. Non-operational days for closures related to COVID-19 should only be reported if the closure is related to COVID-19, but not due to local or state public health order or guidance for which the CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contractor receives reimbursement. This information will be utilized to reimburse providers until the $31.25 million provided in SB 820 is exhausted. The data required to be reported by CCTR, CSPP and CMIG contractors for this purpose is:

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

The CDE will use the submitted data to determine contract earnings and reimbursement.

Attendance and Expenditure Reporting Requirements for CFCC Contractors

The CFCC contract reimbursement calculations and fiscal reporting requirements remain unchanged, as CFCC contractors are currently reimbursed based on the lesser of the contract’s MRA or net reimbursable program costs.

The CFCC contractors are now required to report to the CDE, through the Alternative Payment/CalWORKs Online Reporting System, the use of the 30 additional non-operational days for other closures related to COVID-19, and associated costs when the primary provider is closed and the child receives care from an alternate provider.

This information will be utilized to reimburse providers until the $31.25 million provided in SB 820 is exhausted. The data required to be reported by CFCC contractors for this purpose is:

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

The CDE will use the submitted data to determine contract earnings and reimbursement.

Reporting Days of Operation and Days of Enrollment for FY 2020-21

Both LEA and non-LEA direct contract programs that remained closed in order to prepare for a safe reopening at any time between July 1, 2020, through September 7, 2020, will be reimbursed for this time period. Therefore, for purposes of reporting between July 1 and September 7, 2020, direct service contractors will report the days of operation previously approved by the CDE and indicated in the program calendar, regardless of whether the program was open to provide in-person care to children. Direct service contractors will also report the days of enrollment associated with the days of operation during this period, regardless of whether the program was open to provide in-person services to children.

Beginning September 8, 2020, with the exception of CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contractors who provide services through a family childcare home education network or a CFCC, as specified above, direct service contractors that do not reopen without written local or state public health orders or guidance related to COVID-19 and specific to early learning or childcare, an LEA Verification of Closure, or an approved Non-COVID-19 Emergency Closure request, will not be reimbursed for any period of time that the program was not physically open. Therefore, for purposes of reporting between September 8, 2020, and June 30, 2021, direct service contractors will report the days of operation and days of enrollment for this time period only if the program is either:

  • physically open and providing in-person services for children and families; or
  • not physically open due to written local or state public health guidance or orders; or
  • not physically open due to being on an LEA campus that is closed and the LEA is requiring the closure in accordance with EC 8209(f)(1)(C)(i).

Alternatively, if the contractor was closed without written local or state public health orders or guidance, a contract's MRA will be pro-rated and direct service contractors will not report the days of operation or enrollment of closure.

Reporting Days of Attendance and Excused Absences for FY 2020-21

Direct service contractors will only report the days of attendance for children who receive in-person services and will not report days of attendance for any children participating in distance learning activities. Excused absences will only be reported as a day of attendance for children who were expected to physically attend the program on any given day, but the child did not attend. Contractor excused absence policies should continue to be followed for children receiving in-person services. Direct service contractors are reminded that excused absences include family emergency and illness of the child or parent, which includes a positive COVID-19 case in the family, with the expectation that the child will return to in-person services when it is safe to do so. ​

Note: The above reporting requirements do not apply to the 801A report. Should there be any changes to reporting requirements for the 801A, contractors will be provided further guidance.

Background and Authority

Reimbursement is determined by the specific contract type as defined in the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR). Specifically, 5 CCR Section 18054(a) requires that General Child Care and Development Program (CCTR), California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Severely Disabled Program (CHAN), and Migrant Child Care and Development Program (CMIG) direct service contractors are reimbursed the lesser of:

  • The Maximum Reimbursable Amount (MRA) as stated in the contract;
  • Net reimbursable program costs; or
  • The product of the adjusted child days of enrollment for certified children, times the contract rate per child day of enrollment, times the actual percentage of attendance plus 5 percent, but in no case to exceed 100 percent of enrollment.

The annual FT&C Section V(L) requires that CFCC contractors are reimbursed based on the lesser of:

  • The contract’s MRA; or
  • The amount earned, which is defined as net reimbursable program costs, of which at least 70 percent must be payments for direct services, not more than 30 percent may be for support services and administrative costs together, and no more than 15 percent may be for administrative costs alone.

The EC Section 8271 states that agencies that are unable to operate due to circumstances beyond the control of the operating agency, including but not limited to: incomplete renovations, fires, floods, or earthquakes; shall not be penalized for incurred program expenses, nor in subsequent annual budget allocations. In FY 2019–20, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit California, this EC section was relied upon pursuant to SB 117, Chapter 3, Statutes of 2019, to allow direct service contractors to file COVID-19 Emergency Closure Requests in order to be credited with days of attendance when the program was closed due to reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The EC Section 8209 authorizes the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to waive any requirements of EC or 5 CCR requirements that would directly impede disaster relief and recovery efforts, or would disrupt the current level of service relating to early learning and childcare programs and child nutrition programs when the Governor declares a state of emergency. Any waiver granted pursuant to EC Section 8209 shall not exceed 45 calendar days.

In recognition of the ongoing impacts of early learning and care (ELC) facility closures, low-attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the related public health directives, SB 98 (Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) amended EC 8209(f), authorizing the SSPI to reimburse agencies contracted to operate a CCTR, CSPP, CHAN, CMIG, or CFCC that meet certain requirements, as specified in the guidance above.

On September 18, 2020, the Governor signed SB 820, which includes permitting direct service contractors who operate on an LEA campus that is closed by local or state public health guidance or orders to remain closed and be funded to be operational when the LEA has required the early learning and care program to close. In order to promote continuity of care, the LEA authority that required the early learning or childcare program closure is required to discuss in a public hearing the early learning or childcare closure and prepare a plan for safely reopening those early learning or childcare programs as soon as safely possible, but no later than when the LEA campus opens for in-person instruction.

The SB 820 authorizes the SSPI to establish guidance on prioritizing families for in-person early learning and childcare services when a direct service contractor’s ability to serve enrolled children is limited due to local or state public health order or guidance related to COVID-19 that impacts group size or ratios. Additionally, SB 820 requires direct service contractors to provide children who are not able to receive in-person services with distance learning services pursuant to guidance issued by the SSPI.

The SB 820 allows providers reimbursed by alternative payment programs using the Regional Market Rate (RMR) to submit an attendance record or invoice without the parent or guardian signature when the parent is unable to sign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The provider must attempt to collect the parent’s signature, and the monthly attendance record or invoice must meet all other requirements set forth in EC 8221.5.

The CDE sent out an email to subscribers of the ELCD’s email distribution list on July 19, 2020, stating that direct contract programs, including CCTR, CSPP and CMIG that are operated by an LEA or operate on an LEA campus, including community-based organizations that operate on an LEA campus, may physically close and continue to be funded when the LEA site has determined it may not open. Other program models not on an LEA campus must remain open unless these programs have been directed to close by a local or state public guidance or order related to COVID-19. Any early learning or childcare program or program component that closes as a result of these conditions must provide distance learning for enrolled children and families. Additionally, this email informed direct service contractors of the requirements from SB 98 to reopen by September 8, 2020, or 21 days from the approved calendar start date, and allowed those contractors to submit revised calendars for the 2020–21 program year. This MB supersedes that email, and direct service contractors shall follow the directives listed in the MB below.

On September 11, 2020, the CDE, ELCD released MB 20-17 Requirements for Distance Learning Plans, Program Quality, and Distance Learning Services for Direct Service Contractors. This MB provides direct service contractors with the requirements for the distance learning plan, program quality, and the delivery of distance learning services for children and families who are not receiving in-person services. The MB 20-17 can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/mb2017.asp.

On September 18, 2020, the Governor signed SB 820 (Chapter 111, Statutes of 2020), which included additional funding to support alternative payment providers to be reimbursed for up to 14 non-operational days when the provider is closed due to a COVID-19-related emergency. These 14 COVID-19-related non-operational days were provided to APP providers 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.

On February 23, 2021, the Governor signed AB 82 (Chapter 6, Statutes of 2021), which is intended to implement an agreement entered into by the Governor and the Child Care Providers United (CCPU) union. AB 82 provided APP providers an additional 16 non-operational days, for a total of up to 30 non-operational days for closures related to COVID-19. The AB 82 also included authorization to support CFCC providers, as well as providers who serve children through a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contract in a family child care home education network. Specifically, CFCC providers, as well as providers who serve children through a CCTR, CSPP or CMIG contract in a family child care home education network were authorized to be reimbursed for up to a total of 30 non-operational days for closures related to COVID-19. For CFCC providers, these 30 non-operational days for closures related to COVID-19 are in addition to the 10 non-operational days provided by 5 CCR Section 18076.2(b)(2). These 30 non-operational days are for COVID-19-related closures that do not meet the provisions of California EC Section 8209(f)(1)(B). The bill states these provisions are effective between September 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021.

Other Relevant 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 distribution list at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/progspeclist.asp.

For more information about California Department of Social Services (CDSS) Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD), which provides guidance on social and physical distancing, 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) 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/.

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 website 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 ELCD Program Quality Implementation (PQI) 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 | 916-322-6233
Last Reviewed: Friday, April 16, 2021
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