Paycheck Protection Program
Each agency should determine how they will utilize the PPP loan based on the parameter of the loans. HSVA Contractors should bill all allocable, allowable and reasonable costs to DCYF related to work associated to the DCYF home visiting contracts. HVSA funds in SFY20 contracts cannot be carried forward beyond June 30, 2020, and there will not be an extension of these SFY20 funds. Each contractor will be issued a new budget for SFY21 to begin July 1, 2020.
This week, DCYF, along with all other state agencies, received guidance from OFM to identify operating budget savings options for SFY21. We will work internally and with OFM to complete this budget reduction exercise by June 1. We are in the process of modeling agency reductions for state funds that support DCYF of 15% which equates to $155 million across the agency.
State agency responses will be considered by the governor and the legislature when making budget decisions during a likely upcoming Special Legislative Session. While we will not have final answers to your budget questions at this time, please know we are holding our programs and families in mind as we complete this difficult task.
On May 20, DCYF hosted a stakeholder webinar to discuss the budget process and considerations for DCYF. The presentation is posted on DCYF’s Legislative and Federal Relations webpage. Please watch for another webinar following June 1, during which DCYF leaders will talk about what budget reduction considerations were submitted to OFM.
With June 30 just around the corner, we understand that programs and home visitors are wondering if it will be expected to start in-home visits again in the new contract year. DCYF team members are working with colleagues across the agency who either provide or support contracted services that are provided in the home to develop some common considerations and guidelines for starting in-home services again. Like Gov. Inslee and DCYF Secretary Hunter have indicated, re-engaging in previously normal activities will be like turning a dial with many considerations, not like flipping a switch. Communication will be forthcoming in June and will align with the governor’s phased plan for reopening Washington.
DCYF expects home visiting providers to continue to engage with families to the extent possible during this time that face-to-face visits are not happening.
DCYF is encouraging organizations to utilize creative strategies to engage and support families during this uncertain time, using the model approved approaches for virtual visits.
DCYF understands that not all organizations or families are currently set up to conduct virtual visits, staff may be reassigned and there are backlogs on some technology due to the increased demands of teleworking. We know there may be many more questions as it relates to virtual visits. If you have specific questions about virtual visits – either allowability of costs or practice approaches – please email your DCYF program specialist and Ounce Washington model lead.
OSEP’s Disaster Response Guidance includes health related disasters.
Our partners at the Washington State Department of Health and Ounce Washington also share a firm commitment to the health and safety of your team and the families in your communities. As your organization starts to implement virtual connect engagement with families, please reach out to an Ounce Washington model lead for model-specific guidance and support for this practice approach.
Parents as Teachers – Cassie Morley, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nurse Family Partnership – Elizabeth Kang, email@example.com
ParentChild+ – Pamela Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Portfolio – Catherine Blair, email@example.com
Documentation, Data and Reporting
The March CQI Report (due April 20) is waived, so you are not required to submit it. New guidance for CQI during the remainder of this fiscal year will be announced in our newsletter and more details will be announced in the CQI webinars on April 22 and 23. Guidance on reporting due dates and deliverables between now and June 30 will be given at that time.
All programs should maintain documentation of each contact with every family and the services/information provided – including the method of contact, timing and duration.
DCYF asks that organizations document the financial and staffing impacts of COVID-19 on the program and organization to help us communicate your challenges and work to provide solutions and supports. During this time, home visiting programs may also consider other activities that support the ongoing, high-quality home visiting work of your program, such as distance-based professional development, especially as it relates to engaging families virtually.
DCYF recognizes that COVID-19 will greatly impact enrollment and engagement for home visiting programs. DCYF requests that LIAs utilize the “Comments” box in the monthly report to add information about how many enrollments are on hold or other key information about engagement during the month. For Parents as Teachers (PAT) programs that use Visit Tracker, Visit Tracker has issued guidance on how to enter holds into the system.
DCYF encourages LIAs to document as much as possible the extent to which COVID-19 has impacted LIA programming. Each model has different flexibility for documenting exits in the data systems:
- NFP: Flo currently has a set list of Exit Reasons that does not allow for COVID-19 specific exit reasons. A request has been made to the NSO to offer an “Other” exit reason as a means of documenting COVID-19 exits. If this is adopted, further instructions will be shared.
- PAT: Visit Tracker allows indication of COVID-19 as an exit reason. Please see instructions here.
- Others: Tracking family Exit Reasons is important for understanding program data. If your current data system tracks Exit Reasons or you are tracking this on your own, please report these family exits as “COVID-19” under “Other” or as free text.
- TANF programs do have a place to indicate reasons for exiting in their TANF summary in the Q Report.
DCYF understands that some home visiting programs will experience staffing impacts due to staff being called into emergency response and staff shifting schedules due to school and business closures. We understand that these staffing shifts will impact engagement and numbers of visits. Programs will not be considered out of compliance during this time. DCYF requests that LIAs use the comments sections in both the monthly and quarterly reports to document any COVID-19 impacts on the program. In addition, in the Staffing Detail section of the Quarterly Progress Report, please provide specifics on these changes in staffing arrangements.
Send the consent form via email or regular mail, go over it with families over the phone/video and they can then provide verbal consent. You’ll have to go back and get a signature after the COVID-19 pandemic or have them sign and return to you. Whatever scenario works best for the family.
- If sent via email, they can also send a reply confirming consent.
- Take a picture of the form and text the picture to the family. Ask them to reply confirming their consent. Snapshot the reply and save it to their file.
- Least recommended, but could be an option: Do a drop-off/pick up using social distancing guidelines.
Below are the terms and conditions based on the data sharing agreements between LIAs and DSHS that allow for access into eJAS (Special Terms & Conditions, Section 4.b. Data Access & Sections 7.b. Access to eJAS) on personal computers using secure internet connections (See contract reference below).
Special Terms & Conditions, Section 4.b Data Access: In order to enter specific client data and review existing caseload information as described above, under this Agreement data shall be accessed through:
(1) Personal computers attached to a Local Area Network (LAN) or the State Governmental Network (SGN) using a unique sign in login ID and a complex password, (changed every 90 days), or
(2) Internet access secured through the Fortress server using a unique sign in login ID and a complex password, (changed every 90 days).
Special Terms & Conditions, Sections 7.b. Access to eJAS (2) The Contractor shall access eJAS through on-line personal computers attached to a Local Area Network (LAN) or dial-up connection on a secured Internet connection. All transactions shall be secured through the Washington State Fortress server.
Otherwise, providers must abide by all other data security measures outlined in their agreements with DSHS, including Special Terms and Condition Section 9 – Security of Data - which speaks to retainment and storage of data, specifically that storage of client personal information on personal or company issued portable devices/media for the provision of services … is prohibited. In addition, providers should be aware that the use of personal computers means that anything on that computer becomes subject to public disclosure.
Invoices, Deliverables and Contracts
To date, DCYF has not been given an extension on spending our MIECHV grant beyond its current period of availability – and we don’t anticipate we will get one. DCYF does not carry forward budgets with its LIA contractors from year to year, instead, we work with each LIA on an annual contract budget. You will receive your Pre-Contract Questionnaire and Budget from your DCYF Program Specialist soon and they will work with you on current and future contract budget and spending plans.
Currently, contracts allow for shifts between categories (pay points of the budget) within a funding source. These shifts must receive prior written approval from DCYF. Large transfers between expense categories – particularly if they exceed 10% of the total budget for that fund source – can only be made with prior written approval from DCYF and may require a contract amendment. Please note that no shifts can be made across funding sources. Please talk with your DCYF Program Specialist if you have any budget concerns.
We have just finished streamlining the Pre-Contract Questionnaires and are customizing them to release to programs in the next week.
Even though remote, our fiscal review team continues to work at the same pace in conducting fiscal reviews as they did before the COVID-19 crisis. It is likely that the majority of programs have already received their SFY20 fiscal review. If a program has not yet had their review, they can expect it to occur before the end of the current fiscal year (June 30).
During this time (March 18 – May 4), DCYF intends to pay all invoices with valid program costs, including salaries and benefits, regardless of whether performance milestones such as enrollment, dosage, etc. have been met.
- It is important to document the financial and staffing impacts of COVID-19 on your organization.
- Monthly enrollment reports and invoices should be submitted within 15 business days of the current due date.
- DCYF is amending the following deliverable due dates:
- Quarter 3 Report – currently due April 20 now due May 5, 2020.
- CQI Report – currently due March 19 now waived – no deliverable required
- CQI Practice guidance and future deliverable guidance forthcoming
DCYF will provide a memo to all contracted service providers about amendments that may be required to assure that the necessary emergency measures are aligned in contracts during this State of Emergency. We will continue to update you on new information as best we can in the coming days. More information about in-person meetings and trainings will be included in the monthly Home Visiting newsletter. As new questions arise, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and your DCYF program specialist.
Supplies for the program may include resources for families, such as diapers or formula. These supplies may be incorporated as incentives to continue participating and should be reasonable (and non-coercive). Programs should maintain documentation of how supplies are inventoried and distributed to program participants. Programs who have remaining General Fund State supplies budget are encouraged to utilize this budget line before using the MIECHV supplies budget.
Organizations may purchase program supplies to support remote operations and family engagement, with some exceptions.
- Program Supplies: Supplies may include tablets, WiFi hotspots, printers. Each LIA should maintain a policy for how these supplies will be used, maintained, monitored and/or returned. It is important to abide by usage and security standards for technology supplies and client records.
- Family Incentives: Supplies may include resources for families, such as diapers or formula. These supplies may be incorporated as incentives to continue participating and should be reasonable (and non-coercive). Supplies may also include gift cards (reasonable amounts), ensuring the organization has a gift card policy that describes the intent of the gift card and limitations (no alcohol, tobacco products or firearms should be purchased). Programs should maintain documentation of how supplies are inventoried and distributed to program participants.
- Family Typical Living Expenses: HSVA funds (MIECHV or otherwise) may not be used for typical living expenses such as utilities or rent, during general or emergency times.
While DCYF has not yet determined the financial/invoice impact at this time, we are looking into what guidance we can provide. In the interim, we have identified several resources for organizations related to Implementing New Paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave implementation (Families First Coronavirus Response Act Helps Americans Overcome COVID-19 Workplace Challenges).
If MIECHV-funded staff are reassigned to support non-MIECHV state and/or local emergency response efforts, they may not continue to be paid with MIECHV funds. Per US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) guidance, MIECHV funding must support approved MIECHV activities. Note: Some emergency response activities, such as assisting families in emergency planning and providing parenting and other supports during this time of social isolation, are within the scope of the MIECHV grant. Please reach out to your project officer and/or grants management specialist for clarification if needed. If MIECHV-funded staff are reassigned to support state or local level response efforts, please inform your project officer and if key personnel have been reassigned, identify an appropriate alternative point of contact to ensure continuity of communication.
During this time (March 18 – May 4, now extended from the previous date of April 24), DCYF intends to pay all invoices with valid program costs, including salaries and benefits, regardless of whether performance milestones such as enrollment, dosage, etc. are met. Each organization should examine or amend its HR policies according to the governance of the organization.
If MIECHV-funded staff are reassigned to support non-MIECHV state and/or local emergency response efforts, they may not continue to be paid with MIECHV funds. Per the US Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) guidance, MIECHV funding must support approved MIECHV activities. Note: Some emergency response activities, such as assisting families in emergency planning and providing parenting and other supports during this time of social isolation, are within the scope of the MIECHV grant.
DCYF continues to respond to new FAR intakes, including making in-person contacts with families. For existing FAR cases, FAR workers will not be conducting home visits for the next two weeks. At that point, DCYF will re-evaluate the need. FAR staff continue to serve those clients while teleworking remotely including making telephone contact with families on FAR cases and complete visits if any concerns arise.
CPS caseworkers are continuing to work, and many of them are working remotely. CPS responses to new intakes is an essential function, and these staff remain on the job. Staff should be available via their cell phone or email. However, if there is an imminent concern, community providers can contact either the regional intake line or our End Harm number (1-866-ENDHARM / 1-866-363-4276).
Additional Guidance and Tips and Tricks
- Virtual Platforms: Some home visiting programs are using Doxy.me. Please contact your DCYF Program Specialist for more information on which programs are using Doxy.me.
- Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP) is available through the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services and provides one-time cash assistance to Washington families and people without children who meet the income and resource limits of the program.
- Mindful Self-Compassion webinar series beginning April 29: This is a collaboration between the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, The Center for Child and Family Well-being at the University of Washington and the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion. This will be a three-part webinar series. For more information and registration, visit: Mindful Self-Compassion Webinar Series.
- Local food banks help individuals and families with free groceries, perishable items and other food assistance.
- Financial Aid and Case Management: the Washington Salvation Army has resources to help low-income families pay bills, find housing and address other basic needs. Referrals and support for various needs is offered.
- Legal Aid Partners: Connecting with local legal aid to support families experiencing tenant/landlord challenges
- Community Service Offices (CSO) Partners: Reaching out to caseworkers to ensure TANF recipients are receiving supports during this period of time
- Employment Security Department: ESD has been working to be very responsive to unemployment claims during this time.
- Alien Emergency Medical (AEM) is a program for individuals who have a qualifying medical emergency and:
- Do not meet citizenship or immigration status requirements or are qualified individuals who have not met the 5-year bar Qualifying emergencies include Emergency room visits, inpatient hospital stays, outpatient surgery, dialysis, cancer treatment and antirejection medications.
- US Department of Labor Implementing New Paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave implementation (Families First Coronavirus Response Act Helps Americans Overcome COVID-19 Workplace Challenges)
- DSHS COVID-19 Related Guidance for Public Assistance:
- Links for Free or Reduced-Cost Internet Options for Families: Everyoneon.org and Comcast
- Check out the Ounce webpage for resources for Washington home visitors during COVID-19. Resources include guidance for virtual home visiting screenings and assessments such as IPV screens and a resource collection for using the ASQ in a virtual environment.
- Read an article from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University titled “Thinking about Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Impacts Through a Science-Informed, Early Childhood Lens.”