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MB 21-12

This Management Bulletin provides Guidance on Family Fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021–22.

Early Learning and Care Division

Subject: Guidance on Family Fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021–22

Number: 21-12

Date: September 2021

Expires: June 30, 2022

Authority: Assembly Bill 131, Chapter 116 of the Statutes of 2021

Attention: Executive Officers and Program Directors of all California State Preschool Programs


Purpose

This Management Bulletin (MB) is to notify and provide updated guidance to full-day California State Preschool Programs (CSPP) regarding state requirements on the collection of Family Fees for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021–22 following the enactment of Assembly Bill (AB) 131 Chapter 116 of the Statutes of 2021, Section 263.

Policy

All family fees are waived for FY 2021–22. Any families disenrolled, prior to the issuance of this Management Bulletin, due to delinquent family fees for FY 2021–22 are to be reenrolled without having to provide additional eligibility documentation if the family wants to continue receiving services.

Directive

Family Fees for July 2021

Family fees are waived for all families effective July 1, 2021, through June 30, 2022. Families shall promptly receive a refund for any fees collected for the month of July 2021.

Families disenrolled by the contractor or who chose to disenroll due to the imposition of family fees for July 2021, may be reinstated if funding and space is available without the need for additional eligibility documentation. These families would receive priority and should be enrolled before any families from the agency’s eligibility list. If the family chooses to return to care, contractors must inform these families of the applicability of family fees, which resume July 1, 2022.

If contractors do not have available space to reinstate the family’s services, the contractor may attempt to transfer enrollment to another contractor who has availability and, if not possible, refer the family to the local Resource and Referral program for additional subsidized childcare options.

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 voluntary request by the parent in accordance with the California Code of Regulations, Title 5 (5 CCR), Section 18082.3.

Family Fee Requirements - New Enrollments and Recertifications for Fiscal Year 2021–22

Although family fees are being waived for FY 21–22, contractors are still required to calculate and assess the appropriate family fee. This requirement is to ensure that contractors report the correct family fee amount(s) being waived and that families are aware of the updated fee that will be applicable July 1, 2022. Contractors shall use the 2021–22 Family Fee Schedule that can be found here [https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/documents/familyfeeschedulejul2021.xlsx], and indicate the assessed family fee on the Notice of Action (NOA), as well as state that the family fee has been waived and no family fees are to be paid until July 1, 2022.

Full-day CSPP families with a certified need of less than 130 hours per month will be assessed a part-time fee, while full-day CSPP families with a certified need of 130 hours or more per month will be assessed a full-time fee. Families with school-aged children should be assessed a vacation schedule and school schedule for family fees at initial enrollment and at recertification for CSPP.

Families who were initially certified or recertified based on an eligibility criterion other than income, and who are not otherwise exempt from family fees, are required to be assessed a fee. Families whose incomes exceed the amounts on the annual family fee schedule, must be assessed the highest fee for their family size.

The Family’s Right to Voluntarily Request Changes

Note: This guidance for updating family fees differs from guidance released in previous years. This guidance is in alignment with the new 12-month eligibility regulations that went into effect on July 1, 2021.

Contractors are strongly encouraged to remind families of their right to voluntarily request a decrease to their assessed family fee based on the new fee schedule. Families can voluntarily request a reduction to their assessed family fee in accordance with 5 CCR Section 18082.3 by providing updated income or other appropriate documentation. As a reminder, (1) family fees are not being collected for FY 2021–22, and (2) family fees cannot be increased for any reason during the 12-month period of eligibility; therefore, if a family requests a reduction, but the documentation provided would result in an increase, the contractor must disregard the information and leave the current fee assessment in place.

As a reminder, 5 CCR Section 18082.3 states the following:

  1. A family may, at any time, voluntarily request to reduce a family fee or increase their certified schedule, and shall provide applicable supporting documentation for the requested change.
  2. When a family voluntarily requests to reduce their family fee, the contractor shall:

    1. Use the documentation provided by the parent to reduce the family fee, if applicable, pursuant to sections 18083.1, 18084 and 18084.1;
    2. Within 10 business days after receipt of applicable documentation, issue a Notice of Action pursuant to section 18095;
    3. Only use any information received to reduce the family fee, if applicable. No other changes to the certified schedule shall be made unless requested by the family pursuant to subsection (e) below.
    4. Notwithstanding any other law or regulation, the effective date of any family fee reduction shall be the first day of the subsequent month.
Families on Delinquent Family Fee Plans

For families that have a delinquent family fee plan, contractors must continue to attempt collection of the delinquent family fees to ensure there is proper documentation that would allow the contractor to write off the fees, if necessary. Contractors may only expense written off family fees to their contract with sufficient documentation of collection attempts.

During the 2021–22 fiscal year, families shall not be disenrolled for non-payment of previous years’ delinquent family fee plans. Families disenrolled by the contractor due to delinquent family fees during a period in which family fees are waived can be reinstated. If contractors do not have available space to reinstate the family’s services, the contractor may attempt to transfer their enrollment to a contractor with availability and, if unable to do so, refer the family to the local Resource and Referral program for additional subsidized childcare options. Families that wish to pay off any outstanding family fee balance due prior to July 1, 2021, may do so at any time and credit it to their account.

Contractor Reporting and Reimbursement

The Child Development and Nutrition Fiscal Services (CDNFS) attendance and fiscal reports allow contractors to report the amount of family fees waived. All contractors will be required to report the total amount of family fees that were assessed, but waived, in accordance with the directive above.

Contractors will report the amount of family fees waived on the line Family Fees Waived for Certified Children. For each reporting period, the amount reported in this field should represent the amount of fees that would have been collected from families if family fees had not been waived.

The CDNFS will not reduce a contractor's reimbursement based on the amount of waived family fees reported. An additional allocation will be provided to CSPP contractors to ensure contractors do not have to absorb the cost of family fees waived.

Background

The California Education Code (EC) Section 8213 requires the Department of Finance (DOF) to update State Median Income (SMI) annually.

The EC sections 8252–8254 refer to the state requirements for establishing a family fee schedule, the assessment of those fees, and the applicable exemptions as set by state budget and federal law.

The EC Section 8252(d), states that fees may only be assessed at initial certification and recertification.

The EC Section 8252 requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) to use the family fee schedule developed in conjunction with the California Department of Social Services (CDSS), for families receiving early learning and care (ELC) services, pursuant to the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC) Section 10290. The family fee schedule is subject to the approval of the schedule by the Department of Finance and designed based on the most current SMI, adjusted for family size.

WIC Section 10290 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

EC Section 8252(g) states that family fees shall not be collected for the 2021–22 fiscal year in accordance with Section 263 of AB 131.

The 5 CCR, sections 18108 through 18116 set forth family fee requirements for all ELC programs.

Resources

State Guidelines: CDE and ELCD-Specific

The California Department of Education (CDE), Early Learning and Care Division (ELCD) has developed a COVID-19 guidance and resource web page that includes answers to frequently asked questions, all management bulletins 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 web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/progspeclist.asp.

The CDE has developed a guidebook for the safe reopening of California’s public schools, which can be found by following the direct file link at
https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/he/hn/documents/strongertogether.pdf.

Contacting your Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant or your CDNFS Analyst

If you have any programmatic questions regarding the information in this MB, please contact your assigned ELCD, Program Quality Implementation Office Regional Consultant. The ELCD Consultant Regional Assignments directory can be accessed at
https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/ci/assignments.asp.

If you have any fiscal questions about the information in this MB, please contact your assigned Child Development Nutrition and Fiscal Services analyst. The fiscal analyst directory web page can be accessed at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/aa/cd/faad.asp

Stephen Propheter, Director
Early Learning and Care Division

Questions:   Early Learning and Care Division | 916-322-6223
Last Reviewed: Friday, September 17, 2021
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