5400. Child Care

Original Date:  July 1, 1995

Revised Date:  July 28, 2019

Policy Review:  July 31, 2023

Approved by:  Ross Hunter, Secretary


Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance to Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) child welfare employees on how to authorize payment for quality child care to meet the needs of children in-home or in out-of-home care and promote safety, permanency, and well-being.

Scope

This policy applies to Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) child welfare employees.

Laws

RCW 43.216.020 Department duties

RCW 43.216.250 Secretary’s licensing duties

RCW 74.13.020 Definitions

RCW 74.15.020 Definitions

Policy

Caseworkers:

  1. May authorize child care for eligible children residing in their parent’s home and in out-of-home care, per WACs 110-15-4500 - 4580.
  2. Are responsible authorizing child care for eligible children in out-of-home care.
  3. Must verify the child meets the following eligibility criteria prior to authorizing child care:
    1. The child has an open child welfare case.
    2. The child is 12 years old or younger or is under age 19 with verified special needs per WAC 110-15-0220.
    3. The child's case plan identifies the need for child care and that need is based on the needs of the family.
  4. Must verify child care services are provided by a qualified provider, per WAC 110-15-0125.
  5. Must authorize payment within the rates established for daily child care per WACs 110-15-0200, 110-15-0205, and 110-15-0245.
  6. Must authorize payment within the rates established for special needs child care per WACs 110-15-0225, 110-15-0230, and 110-15-0235.
  7. Must notify child care providers 10 calendar days in advance of a planned termination, e.g., planned placement move, or as soon as possible for an urgent and unanticipated termination of child care services, e.g., unplanned or court ordered move.

Procedures

  1. Child Care for Children in an Out-of-Home Placement
    When accessing child care for children in DCYF care and custody placed in out-of-home care, the caseworkers must:
    1. Determine if early learning programs are available to meet the child care needs of the family and enroll children in either:
      1. Early Head Start
      2. Head Start
      3. Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)
    2. Authorize child welfare funded child care as needed for:
      1. Caregivers who have on-going commitments, such as part-time or full-time employment, or continuing education to maintain employment.
      2. Extraordinary circumstances that require child care, e.g., a child enrolled in a child care program who needs continuity of care between placements or the caregiver is experiencing short-term employment transition.
    3. Not authorize child care funding for:
      1. Any family when at least one caregiver is not employed and is at home.
      2. Caregivers requesting child care for placement stabilization. In these cases, respite or other services must be offered.
    4. Document the need for child care in the case plan.
  2. Child Care for Children Living In-Home with their Parents or Guardians
    When accessing child care for children with an open DCYF case living in their own home, caseworkers must:
    1. Determine if early learning programs are available to meet the child care needs of the family and enroll children in either:
      1. Early Head Start
      2. Head Start
      3. ECEAP
    2. Authorize child welfare funded child care for children living in their own homes if determined that resources in (2a.) are not available to address safety concerns or to prevent out of home placements. Child welfare funded child care may be paid, prior to referring the family to Working Connections Child Welfare Continuing Child Care (CWCCC):
      1. On any open case, for a maximum of three months; or
      2. For cases open less than three months. Payments must end at time of case closure.
    3. Document the need for child care in FamLink.
  3. Accessing CWCCC for Children Living in their Home with their Parents or Guardians Caseworkers must:
    1. Inform the family of the following eligibility requirements for CWCCC:
      1. Children must be residing with the parent or guardian with case types of CPS investigations or FAR, FVS, FRS, CFWS in-home or trial return home. Families achieving permanency through adoption, guardianship or non-parental custody are not eligible.
      2. Child care must be included in the child’s case plan.
      3. The parent must access the benefits within six months of the child welfare case closure.
    2. Inform parent or guardians receiving child care funded by child welfare, that they are eligible for 12 months of CWCCC funded child care once their child welfare funding has ended, without co-pay or work requirements.
      1. Request the parent’s or guardian’s consent to disclose their eligibility to CWCCC to receive a continuation of subsidized child care. If parents or guardians do not consent to disclose eligibility, inform them they may still receive child care funded by child welfare for up to three months while the case is open.
      2. Complete the Service Referral in FamLink including the date the child welfare payment will end and document that the parent or guardian gave consent to disclose their eligibility to CWCCC and the name of the parent or guardian giving consent.
      3. Provide the parent or guardian the date the child welfare child care payment will end.
      4. If child welfare has been paying the provider’s usual rate, inform the parent or guardian that providers who do not accept the subsidized rate will not be eligible to receive payment under CWCCC.
      5. If child welfare has been paying for child care with an unlicensed in-home/relative provider, inform the parent or guardian that these providers are not eligible to receive payment under CWCCC and a licensed provider will need to be identified.
      6. Notify the parent or guardian they must complete the application process for CWCCC by calling 1-844-626-8687 prior to the child welfare payment end date or beginning of CWCCC payment, so there is no lapse in child care subsidy payments. CWCCC is unable to back-date payment and the parent or guardian will be responsible for any child care costs incurred prior to application.
    3. Complete a Service Referral in FamLink using the category “Child Care- Referral Only” if at the time of case closure, the family has not been receiving child welfare funded child care or does not need child care, but there is evidence that the family will need child care in the near future for the safety of the children.
      1. Request the parent’s or guardian’s consent to disclose their eligibility to CWCCC to receive subsidized child care after case closure.
      2. Document in a case note and in the Service Referral in FamLink that the parent or guardian gave consent to disclose their eligibility to CWCCC and the name of the parent or guardian giving consent.
      3. Notify the parent or guardian that they must complete the application process for CWCCC by calling 1-844-626-8687 within six months of the child welfare case closure to receive 12 months of CWCCC subsidized child care. CWCCC is unable to back-date payment and the parent or guardian will be responsible for any child care costs incurred prior to application.
  4. Payment for Licensed Child Care
    Caseworkers must:
    1. Authorize payment for licensed child care when the provider accepts the DCYF child care subsidy rates and one of the following criteria is met:
      1. The child care center is licensed by DCYF or the equivalent agency in another state.
      2. The family home providing the child care has a child care license through DCYF or the equivalent agency in another state.
      3. The home or center is certified by DCYF or equivalent agency in another state if the child care program or family home is exempted from the licensing requirements by DCYF, e.g., military, public schools or Tribal Nations.
    2. Obtain area administrator approval to pay the provider’s usual rate on the Administrative Approval Request DCYF 05-210 when:
      1. It is in the child’s best interest; and
      2. Subsidized child care is not obtainable or reasonably accessible.
    3. Authorize payment of a registration fee to the providers when a child either:
      1. Is first enrolled with a provider.
      2. Is enrolled with a child care provider during the eligibility period outlined in the Working Connections and Seasonal Child Care Subsidy Program chapter 110-15 WAC.
      3. Leaves child care and then returns to the same provider more than 60 days later.
    4. If funds are available, authorize a monthly field trip or quality enhancement fee up to $30 dollars per child or the provider’s actual cost for the field trip, whichever is less, either:
      1. Directly to a licensed or certified family home child care provider if the child care is provided by a licensed or certified family home care provider.
      2. As reimbursement to the out-of-home caregiver if the child care is provided in a licensed child care center.
        1. The field trip or quality enhancement fee is intended to cover the provider's actual expenses for:
          1. Admission
          2. Enrichment programs or ongoing lessons
          3. Public transportation or mileage reimbursement at the Office of Financial Management rate for the use of a private vehicle
          4. The cost of hiring a nonemployee to provide an activity at the child care site in-house field trip activity
          5. The purchase or development of a prekindergarten curriculum
        2. The field trip or quality enhancement fee will not cover fees or admission costs for adults on field trips, or food purchased on field trips.
        3. The fee must be required of all parents whose children are in the provider’s care.
  5. Payments for Unlicensed Child Care
    Caseworkers must:
    1. Authorize payment for child care that is provided by unlicensed relatives or Family, Friends and Neighbors (FFN) only if the provider is a:
      1. Person unrelated to the child providing child care in the child's own home.
      2. Relative, as defined by RCW 74.15.020 (2) (a) (i)-(vi), who lives outside the child's home, and provides child care in the child's home or in the relative's own home.
    2. Not authorize unlicensed child care payment when the care is provided by:
      1. Biological mother or father
      2. Adoptive mother or father
      3. Siblings living with either parent, or siblings under the age of 18
      4. Stepmother or stepfather
      5. Step-siblings living with either parent, or step-siblings under the age of 18
    3. Complete or confirm the following, before unlicensed FFN provider child care can be authorized:
      1. Verify the age, maturity, and suitability of the caregiver per WAC 110-16-0010. The caregiver must be:
        1. Eighteen years of age or older.
        2. A U.S. citizen or legally allowed to work in the U.S.
        3. Of sufficient physical, emotional, and mental health to meet the needs of the child.
      2. Complete a background check per Background Check policy.
      3. Verify the FFN provider meets the requirements in chapter 110-16 WAC.
  6. Special Needs Child Care Rate
    Caseworkers must:
    1. Confirm the child has a physical, mental, emotional or behavioral condition that requires a higher level of care as verified by a health, mental health, or education professional with at least a master’s degree.
    2. Obtain documentation supporting the higher level of care needed from the health, mental health, or education professional.
    3. Determine applicable rate per WACs 110-15-0225, 110-15-0230, and 110-15-0235.
    4. Verify that the special needs care only covers care required to meet the child’s additional needs above the daily routine care required. This includes:
      1. Ambulatory assistance
      2. Feeding and hygiene assistance
      3. Communication or behavioral intervention and support as applicable and needed
      4. Other needs specific to the care of the child
    5. Verify the provider’s training needs and the child’s equipment needs are not covered by special needs care.
    6. Complete the Administrative Approval Request DCYF 05-210 form for the additional cost of care and attach the supporting documentation.
    7. Obtain approval from the area administrator on Administrative Approval Request DCYF 05-210 form for the additional cost of care.
  7. Planned Termination of Child Care Services
    Caseworkers must:
    1. Give child care providers notice, at least 10 calendar days prior to the planned termination date, such as a planned placement move or permanency. Notice must be provided either:
      1. Verbally (in-person or telephone)
      2. In writing using the Child Care Planned Termination DCYF 10-433 form
      3. By email
    2. Document termination in FamLink case notes.
    3. Terminate payment authorization in FamLink.
  8. Urgent and Unanticipated Terminations of Child Care Services
    Caseworkers must:
    1. Notify the child care provider as soon as possible of the urgent or unanticipated termination, such as an urgent or emergent move or court order.
    2. Reimburse the provider for any child care services provided or costs incurred in anticipation of providing ongoing child care.
    3. Document termination and notice in FamLink case notes.
    4. Terminate payment authorization in FamLink.

Forms

Administrative Approval Request DCYF 05-210

Child Care Planned Termination DCYF 10-433 (located in the Forms repository on the DCYF intranet)