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Division of Child Care COVID-19 Update

DCC 11 COVID 19 Guidance for Kentucky Child Care Providers

Seasonal Reminders with Child Care Emergency Regulations

Sent to DCC Listserv October 20, 2020

Fall is a wonderful time of year with lots of holiday traditions.  Unfortunately, the spread of COVID is going to make this year look much different than normal years.  The Division of Child Care and the Division of Regulated Child Care have had lots of questions regarding fall festivals, Halloween parties, and school pictures.  Here are a few reminders for your holiday plans:

  • Unnecessary visitors are still not allowed at child care programs, including school photographers.  School pictures need to be delayed at this point.  When the virus is controlled enough that visitor restrictions can be lifted, that will be the best time to conduct school photos. 
  • Family events and school-wide events are still not allowed at child care programs.  If your program does want to have a Halloween party or fall party, the party must be isolated to individual classrooms, making sure that children remain in their classroom groups and maximum group size is maintained.
  • School-wide Halloween parades cannot be held this year due to group size limitations.  If children would like to dress up in their costumes, they can dress up and have a small parade outside with their individual classrooms.  Other classrooms have the opportunity to watch out the windows and see their schoolmates in their costumes.

This year will definitely cause many child care programs to be creative when it comes to adapting our normal seasonal traditions.  It is definitely possible.  Just make sure to maintain the requirements in the emergency regulations (such as maximum group size and proper cleaning procedures) as you make your seasonal plans.

CARES Act funding for Child Care Stipends

Sent to DCC Listserv October 8, 2020

The Division of Child Care will be using all remaining CARES Act funding to offer child care providers one more sustainment stipend.  Here are the requirements of the stipend.

  1. The Cabinet will provide Licensed and Certified child care programs a stipend in the amount of $130 per child based on licensure/certification capacity as reported to the Office of Inspector General, Division of Regulated Child Care at the time of the declaration of the state of emergency.
  2. Registered Providers will receive a stipend of $130 per child based on their current enrollment.
  3. Providers may use the Sustainment Funding for:
    • Employee wages;
    • Facility mortgage or rent payments;
    • Facility utility payments;
    • Facility insurance payments;
    • The childcare program’s obligated portion of employee benefit insurance; and
    • Consumable materials including food, PPE, and cleaning materials.
  4. Providers shall agrees that it shall not use the Sustainment Funding for
    • Program expansion;
    • Elective facility repairs; and
    • Elective classroom materials.
  5. All eligible child care programs must have been in operation by October 1st as stated by the records at the Division of Regulated Child Care.
  6. All funding contracts must be submitted to the Division of Child Care by December 1st, 2020 in order to distribute funding promptly.
  7. Digital contracts will be emailed to each child care provider in the same manner that the first stipend contract was sent.
  8. Child care programs that do not choose to spend these funds must return the funding to the Cabinet for Health and Family services.

ECE-TRIS Online Account Creation Area

Sent to DCC Listserv October 5, 2020

New staff can now use an online form to request an ECE-TRIS account to start their professional development training record. This process will also assist users who are unsure if they have an existing account. Once an account is created, users will then have access to the required online version of Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma for Child Care Providers as well as other ECE-TRIS Sponsored Web Based Trainings.

You can find the New Account Request Area (click here)and more detailed instructions (click here) on the ECE-TRIS website.

ECE Sponsored (Uses ECE-TRIS login to access) Training list can be found on the ECE-TRIS Calendar Page

Online Training Opportunities for Licensing Clock Hours

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, training delivery has shifted to online formats and we want to share some tips to ensure you are seeking quality training opportunities that meet your professional development needs.

  1. Training must be Approved

For a training that meets the early care and education clock hour training requirements for licensed, certified, and registered Early Care and Education providers, Kentucky All STARS, the Commonwealth Child Care Credential and the Kentucky Early Care and Education Trainer’s Credential it must have been;

·        Conducted by a Kentucky Early Care and Education Credentialed Trainer

·        Pre-approved by DCC at least 30 days prior to the training start date

o   Standards for considering approval request

§  Related to ECE content

§  Minimum 1 hour in length

§  Trainer/Agency confirmation of completion (with sign in, assignment requirements, certificate)

§  Must include checks for understanding

o   How to Submit for Approval

§  Use the Training Requests area on ECE-TRIS

  1. Instructions for  How to Find DCC Approved Training

Calculating Required Training Hours based on new State Fiscal Year range of July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2020

You can find a summary of calculating hours for existing staff and new hires in the FORMS section of ECE-TRIS, or follow this link: Calculating Hours

Key Points

  • Existing staff (defined on the attached summary) will use the July 1 – June 30th range.
  • New to the field staff (defined on the attached summary) will use a hire date – hire date in the first year of hire.
  • In the case of a substitute hired by a temporary/substitute agency for early care and education provider placement,  the substitute’s training requirements are tied to the hire date with the sub agency, not the child care program.
  • Staff will not be penalized if they had a hire date (and therefore annual training date) that would fall after June 30 when the regulation was changed for the training hours annual requirement if they did not complete the 15 hours. With this being a new requirement, DRCC and DCC are not expecting for employees to have finished their training hours early, especially given COVID-19 shutdowns.

Required Training Hours Report in ECE-TRIS

Below explains how this report is currently working as well as upcoming changes for determining training hours for those new hires just entering the field of early care and education.  Once those changes have been made, you will be notified.

                    Currently Reported

  • All Staff will show hours from July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.
  • Orientation is only included in annual training clock hours if taken during the time frame of used based on their status of existing staff (July 1 – June 30) or for new to the field staff (hire date to hire date of the first year).  
  1. Previous Orientation and Pediatric Abusive Head Trauma will count as meeting the requirements for completing.

Upcoming Modifications

  • New to the early child and education field staff will be tracked in ECE-TRIS so this report can calculate their first year required hours by hire date to hire date.

For additional questions and assistance, please contact ECE-TRIS at ecetris@eku.edu, or your Child Care Aware of Kentucky Coach. Your Coach can be located here.

Senate Bill 45

Sent to DCC Listserv September 29, 2020

During the 2020 legislative session, the Kentucky legislature passed a bill, Senate Bill 45, regarding health and safety practices in licensed child care programs.  This bill mandates that licensed child care programs meet the meal planning requirements of the Child and Adult Care Food Program.  It also required changing the sugary drink, screen time, and physical activity requirements based on recommendations from Kentucky’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and Kentucky’s Child Care Advisory Council, as well as with recommendations from state and national experts.  The Child Care Health and Safety Regulations (922 KAR 2:120) has been updated to meet the requirements of this newly passed statute.  Also, 922 KAR 2:120 has been updated to meet the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ safe sleep policy.  These amendments to the regulation are being filed today, and there will be an open comment period through December.  These are ordinary amendments to the regulation, so they will not be going into effect immediately.  They will go through the full regulatory review process before being implemented. 

Here is the link to view Senate Bill 45:  https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/recorddocuments/bill/20RS/sb45/bill.pdf

Once the regulations are filed, you may view the updates on the LRC website.  

https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/law/kar/TITLE922.HTM

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.