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Division of Child Care COVID-19 Update

DCC 11 COVID 19 Guidance for Kentucky Child Care Providers

CCAP Billing Reminder

Sent to DCC Listserv September 1, 2020

In March, the Division of Child Care (DCC) applied for a federal waiver to enable CCAP funding to pay providers based on enrollment rather than attendance during the pandemic.  As announced in May, this waiver ends on September 30, 2020.  Beginning October 1, CCAP will return to the normal payment policy of being paid based on the child’s attendance.  Provider Billing Forms (PBFs) will need special attention and coding according to the child’s attendance and the approved schedule.  If you need a billing refresher, please watch the billing basics training video at:   

Providers serving school-age CCAP children will need to be especially diligent in coding and putting notes in the Provider Notes box.  There are 170+ school districts in Kentucky and each are on different schedules and plans this school year.  These plans are subject to change and may change weekly.  The school-age children attending your center may be attending on an irregular schedule or a constantly changing schedule depending on illness and your district’s decisions. 

If a school-age CCAP child attends your center full-time on days when their school is closed or are attending full-time and doing NTI work, then you should code with a full day code (1).  If the CCAP child attends in-person school and attends your center afterschool, then code with a part day code (2).  These same rules apply for districts that are doing A/B days or any other variation of part time in-person instruction.  Some school-age CCAP children may attend in-person school on Monday and Tuesday and your center on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Code Monday and Tuesday with a part day code (2, (if the child comes afterschool).  Code Wednesday-Friday with a full day code (1).   Federal CCAP Policy states a school-age child who is attending in-person instruction at school cannot receive CCAP funds during the time the child is attending in-person school.  

In order to provide correct payments and avoid underpayments or overpayments, each provider is responsible for coding correctly and entering Provider Notes explaining changes made.  Providers may also contact CCAPProviderPayments@ky.gov  to ask questions or get clarification about billing before submitting the PBF.  When sending an inquiry to the CCAP inbox, please include the license number, case number, name of parent and child, and a brief description of the reason for the email.  This allows staff to address the issue quickly and efficiently. 

Division of Child Care Update

Sent to DCC Listserv September 1, 2020

There have been several questions since yesterday’s press conference regarding the new child care emergency regulations, so I would like to offer a few answers to the most popular questions. 

  • The new emergency regulations go into effect today (since they were technically filed after hours yesterday).  Group sizes may increase starting today.  Only emergency regulations were filed (not ordinary regulations) because we anticipate these emergency regulations will only be needed for a temporary time period.  They are not permanent changes.
  • Licensed child care programs are no longer limited to group sizes of 10.  They may have group sizes as large as fifteen.  This does not mean that programs MUST have groups of fifteen if they choose to stay at ten.  Programs have always been allowed to make their programs smaller than the maximum group size or capacity.  The group size of fifteen is NOT the adult-to-child ration.  A program may not have one adult with fifteen two-year-olds.  Adult-to-child ratios will still follow the ratios established in the typical health and safety regulations listed in 922 KAR 2:120.  https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/kar/922/002/120.pdf
  • Since registered and certified providers always have less than 15 children, they may return to their typical group size requirements.  Licensed infant and one-year-old classrooms may also return to their typical group size and adult-to-child ratios since they always have fewer than 15 children.
  • Prior to the pandemic, Kentucky had 65 counties that were already considered “child care deserts” without enough child care for the families that live in that area.  The Cabinet wants to assist in those areas and throughout the state to make sure that families have the child care needed.  If child care providers throughout the state would like to become a registered or certified child care provider (within their home), then the state will provide a $2500.00 start-up stipend to assist with initial zoning fees, insurance premiums, basic computer for business requirements, and safety features like needed gates.  These programs will need to go through the full application process through Division of Child Care (for registered providers) or the Division of Regulated Child Care (for certified providers).
  • There are pop-up programs and businesses throughout the state that are starting NTI camps for school-age children and not meeting child care licensing standards.  These programs will not be allowed.  The Division of Regulated Child Care will be inspecting these programs, and if they are not licensed/do not meet licensing standards, they will be shutdown.  Child care facilities must follow state regulations in order to be in operation.
  • Limited Duration Childcare (LDCs) that have been open during the pandemic have the opportunity to become licensed child care programs (just like any business that would like to apply for a child care license).  In order to have this opportunity, they must meet the background checks mandates, group size requirements, and all the other licensed child care regulations.  If they do not want to follow those requirements, then they cannot become licensed and maintain a permanent child care business.  
  • Some families have started small pods of NTI students to assist with learning while the schools are not utilizing face-to-face classroom.  If parents are paying for their children to participate in a pod, then they need to understand that even if these pods are legal (very small numbers), there need to be health and safety precautions in place.  If someone else is watching your child, do they have a background check?  What type of cleaning precautions are being used in the home?  Are children wearing masks?  Parents need to ask these questions before leaving their children with a tutor or babysitter.
  • Regulated child care is always the safest form of child care.  That means that the child care program/provider is licensed, certified, or registered with the state.  Kentucky has utilized over $67 Million since March to support these regulated child care programs during the pandemic, but it is still not enough.  Additional federal funding is still needed to support child care programs through this state of emergency.  These programs are essential to Kentucky’s workforce, and they need to be supported long term.  There are multiple bills in congress right now that could potentially offer funding for child care programs throughout the US.  Reach out to your elected officials and let them know that child care is essential for working families and Kentucky’s workforce will suffer without it. 
  • The All-STAR rating visits have been temporarily suspended due to limiting visitors in and out of centers.  Plus, many of the key points that increase a centers rating score (like family events and family style dining) have been limited during the pandemic.  The Division of Child Care does not want centers to be penalized on their All-STAR rating due to these restrictions.  All-STAR rated programs will stay at their current rating level for the next year and receive their financial stipend based on that rating level.  That way programs can continue to receive the additional funding that they so desperately need at this time.  NO PAPERWORK is required for approval of the Annual Quality Reviews. The messaging around required paperwork to receive your annual payments is if you do not have an All STARS Payee set up. IF this happens the Kentucky All STARS Program will email you with the paperwork that is required. Unless you receive an email then there is nothing that you need to submit.
  • Although screen time is not the preferred method of learning for young children, many schools are having to utilize virtual learning during the pandemic.  Child care programs typically limit screen time to two hours per day or less.  While children in Kentucky must attend NTI learning, school-age children will be given an exemption from the screen time limit for NTI work only.  This exemption only applies to children who are kindergarten age and older.

Division of Child Care Update

Sent to the DCC Listserv Aug 31, 2020

The Division of Child Care would like to announce that updates have been made to the child care emergency regulations:

  • Limited duration child care programs will have new requirements (maximum group size, supervision/background checks, and DRCC monitoring) and are encouraged to pursue licensure or certification if they have not already.
  • Child care programs may increase the maximum group size of children twenty-four (24) months of age and older from ten (10) children to fifteen (15) children per group.  Adult to child ratios will remain the same as in the typical health and safety regulations, 922 KAR 2:120.
  • Infant and one-year-old classrooms will go back to the ratios and group sizes listed in the typical child care regulations, 922 KAR 2:120.
  • Child care programs may allow tours with potential clients after regular operating hours, if no children are in the facility and the provider ensures all affected areas are cleaned after the conclusion of the tour.
  • Child care programs are allowed an exception to the limitation on electronic viewing and listening devices for school-age children completing assigned nontraditional instruction.
  • Kentucky All STARS program will suspend rating visits during the state-of-emergency.  Programs will continue to receive their annual funding (based on their current rating level)  if required paperwork is completed.
  • New language in the regulation shows that Kentucky is waiving national fingerprint-based background checks during the public health emergency per federal guidance (allowing name-based checks to substitute during the emergency and then requiring fingerprint-based checks after they resume).
  • Family child care homes that have not previously been regulated may apply for a $2,500 stipend to cover the start-up costs of beginning the certification process.

The regulation 922 KAR 2:400E has been withdrawn, and a new emergency regulation has been filed, 922 KAR 2:405E.  With a new emergency regulation, open comment period will begin again.  Laura Begin, our regulatory liaison, and I will be collecting those comments leading up to the public hearing if you need to contact us.

KY All STARS Update

A message from the Division of Child Care sent 8/21/2020

Through the end of the declared state of emergency related to COVID-19, the Kentucky All STARS Program will be making the following changes:

  • All child care centers will remain at their current All STARS Level.
  • All level 2-5 STARS rated centers will have their All STARS Certificate expiration date extended by one year. 
    • The only exception being, child care centers who’s current All STARS certificate has an expiration date that falls in the year of 2019 or between January-March 2020.  These center’s expiration dates will be extended by two years.
    • Child care centers will be able to print their updated certificates via the Provider Portal.

With the extension of the All STARS expiration dates, all renewal processes will be switched to Annual Quality Reviews (AQR).

The All STARS Program will be processing AQRs as follows:

  • AQRs will be automatically approved. No documents are required from the child care centers for their AQRs to be approved. This will include all backdated AQRs never finalized or submitted due to the state of emergency.
  • AQRs will be approved based on your center’s All STARS/Licensure expiration month. If your expiration month has already passed, then these AQRs will be processed in the upcoming weeks.

Upon AQR approval, the Kentucky All STARS Program will begin processing and disbursing All STARS payments.

If you have any questions, please contact KYAllSTARS@ky.gov.

Emergency Regulations

The new emergency child care regulations have been approved by the Governor and are posted on the LRC website:

ECE 020: Requirements for Reopening Child Care in Kentucky

This course will review the requirements for child care to reopen in June 2020, including:

  • the current regulations on healthy and clean environments,
  • the new enhanced regulations for childcare programs open during the COVID19 state of emergency, and
  • a refresher course on mandatory reporting of child abuse.

This course should take 30 minutes to complete. All program staff must complete before the program re-opens.