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CCDBG Requirements for School-Age Care
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As of January 2018

The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) that subsidizes the cost of child care for families who qualify based on income, family size, and work/school participation, is primarily funded by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).  In 2014, Congress reauthorized the law and put a larger focus on what the child needs to have healthy development. The MN Legislature passed these changes in the spring of 2017 in order to come into compliance.

Many of these changes help to support families and simplify their experience participating in CCAP, such as stabilizing eligibility and copays. Other changes impact program providers who receive CCAP funds.

Already licensed family childcare and centers saw some changes in their licensing requirements while some programs, such as those who previously have been license exempt, will now have to meet new certification requirements under the oversight of the Department of Human Services (DHS). 

This article will answer some common questions about the new requirements for license exempt programs who receive CCAP funds. More information can be found here.

Who has to be certified under these new rules?

Is certification the same as licensing?

What are the new requirements?

What will annual inspections include? Will they be surprise visits?

What are the requirements for staff?

Are there ratio & group size requirements?

Our program is part of a school district, so we have reporting requirements to the MN Department of Education (MDE). Will this change?

I've heard a lot about health and safety standards. What exactly do we need?

What training do staff need?

We are hiring staff constantly. How are we going to get all of this training done? What will DHS need to see?

What if my current program or district practices already exceed these requirements?

I've heard about emergency preparedness plans. We already create these as they are required by our district. Can I just give a copy of that to DHS?

The certification requirements say that I need to have the name, address, phone number, date of birth, completed background study, training record, and first date of supervised and unsupervised contact with students on record for each staff. Our human resources department keeps those records in the main district offices. Is that okay?

I understand that DHS background studies will be required. What are these?

When do these new background studies have to be completed?

Where do staff get fingerprinted?

Our staff already have to go through our school district's background check. Will they have to do both?

How do I become certified?

What if my program fails to comply with some aspect of certification?

What if I do not want to move forward with certification?

Where do I go for additional information?

 

Who has to be certified under these new rules?

Any license exempt childcare provider who currently receives CCAP funds or who would like to be eligible to receive CCAP funds.

Is certification the same as licensing?

No, certification is not the same as licensure.

What are the new requirements?

The new requirements fall into the main categories of annual inspections, health and safety standards and training, and enhanced background studies.

What will annual inspections include?  Will they be surprise visits?

Annual inspections will be announced and visits scheduled to each service site location. DHS staff will look for compliance with basic health, safety, and fire standards outlined in the certification requirements. Results of the inspection will be publically available on the DHS website for consumer education purposes.

What are the requirements for staff?

Each site must have a director or designee present. Staff who work unsupervised with children must be 16 years of age. The site director must be 18 years of age and have completed 16 hours of related training.

Are there ratio & group size requirements?

Yes. PreK requires a 1:10 staff to student ratio with a maximum group size of 20.  K-13 years requires a 1:15 ratio and a maximum group size of 30.  Group size can exceed the maximum number during the following exceptions: Transitions, meals, outdoor play, field trips, rest time, gym, and special activities (film, guest speaker, holiday program, etc.)

Our program is part of a school district, so we have reporting requirements to the MN Department of Education (MDE). Will this change?

Under certification, programs will need to report abuse or neglect by staff, injuries & deaths, certain contagious diseases, etc. to DHS, and in some cases may be dual reporting to MDE and DHS.  When in doubt, dual report and inform them you are also notifying the other dept.

I’ve heard a lot about health and safety standards.  What exactly do we need?

Your program will need to have standards around exclusion of sick children, immunization records, medication administration, preventing & responding to allergies, building & physical premises safety, and transporting children (only if your staff transport). Most programs already have many of these standards covered in district policies, program procedures, and/or staff handbooks.  You will need to be able to show DHS where these standards are listed.

What training do staff need?

Your staff will need to be trained on the standards listed in the question above as part of an orientation process within 14 days of hire and annually thereafter.  Staff also need two hours of child development training within 14 days of hire and annually, First Aid and CPR every two years, and abusive head trauma if serving students under age 5.

We are hiring staff constantly.  How are we going to get all of this training done? What will DHS need to see?

The trainings do not have to be completed by certified trainers. Trainings can be online, via video, or even simple information that staff read and sign off on. Training can be tracked through individual certificates in employee files or a spreadsheet of training dates and staff names.  DHS will provide some additional resources and examples of tracking sheets that can be used if you do not already have your own tracking system in place.

What if my current program or district practices already exceed these requirements?

As these are minimum requirements, most districts and programs will already be exceeding the certification requirements in many areas. That’s great!  Your district or program is free to have any type of requirements desired that exceed the minimum standards. 

I’ve heard about emergency preparedness plans. We already create these as they are required by our district. Can I just give a copy of that to DHS?

No, the emergency preparedness plans must be on the DHS Child Care Emergency Plan form found on the DHS website. The plan you already have in your program will make it easy to insert the same information into the DHS standard form. 

The certification requirements say that I need to have the name, address, phone number, date of birth, completed background study, training record, and first date of supervised and unsupervised contact with students on record for each staff.  Our human resources department keeps those records in the main district offices.  Is that okay?

Yes, DHS understands that they may need to go to a different location to access some records. Employee records are one example of this.  Student vaccination records are another example of something that may be kept centrally. Because the annual visits are scheduled, access to these records will be able to be arranged ahead of time. Electronic access is also sufficient if you utilize technology systems that allow you to pull up records of various information.

I understand that DHS background studies will be required. What are these?

As part of the certification, staff (both current and future, including minors) will need to go through a DHS fingerprinted FBI level background check.  These background studies must go through the DHS system and cannot be done using an outside vendor. 

Programs will initiate a background study through the DHS NETStudy2.0 system and then staff will report to a fingerprinting location. The fingerprinting fee is generally around $10 and the background study fee is $40. These fees may be paid by the study subject or by the employer.

Once the fingerprinting has happened, results are usually available in just one to four days.  These studies will search six databases, two of which it will automatically recheck for updates on a regular basis once someone is in the system and employers will be notified if any new disqualifying information appears in the system. This background study must be resubmitted every five years at which time the other four databases will be rechecked.

When do these new background studies have to be completed?

This aspect of certification is not yet in place as the DHS background study system is not set up to intake the large number of license exempt programs that will need to come on board.  DHS will keep programs apprised of this timeline and programs will have plenty of warning to prepare. 

Where do staff get fingerprinted? 

There are many fingerprinting locations around including many UPS stores, some libraries, police stations, etc.  Currently, there are not enough locations to intake the number of new programs becoming certified.  DHS is working on expanding locations and potentially even having some portable systems that could travel from program to program. Programs may also decide they want to become a location and can purchase the equipment for approximately $5,000.  Fingerprinting locations do get a small cut of the fingerprinting fee (about $3) which could eventually offset the cost. Some larger school districts are already considering this option.

Our staff already have to go through our school district’s background check.  Will they have to do both?

MN has passed legislation that exempts school district childcare employees from having to go through the regular district background check required by MDE. Individual programs or district human resource departments will have to review their practices and determine the best course of action, but from a state level, child care staff working in a school district only need the DHS study.  Staff who hold a dual role in the district outside of childcare may need both studies. This is currently being looked at by DHS and MDE.

How do I become certified?

Programs should have received certification onboarding forms at the end of October 2017 from DHS. These forms were due back to DHS at the end of November 2017. DHS will process the information and in early 2018 will provide programs with a certification number and additional guidance and resources to help them through the certification process.  Once a program receives their certification number they will be considered certified and can expect a planned visit in approximately one year. 

What if my program fails to comply with some aspect of certification?

Programs will be issued a correction order that states the violation and time allowed to correct the violation. If a program feels there has been an error they may submit a reconsideration request. If a program fails to correct the violation in the correction order they may become decertified which means that they can no longer accept CCAP funds.

What if I do not want to move forward with certification?

Any program not wishing to become certified will no longer be able to accept CCAP funds. This creates an access issue and a barrier for families looking for high-quality childcare services. Some programs have wondered if they could just subsidize families themselves rather than utilizing CCAP funds. While this may be possible, families will lose their CCAP eligibility if they are not utilizing the funds and may be placed on a long wait list for CCAP if they later have to move or change providers.

Where do I go for additional information?

Visit the DHS Website for Frequently Asked Questions: https://tinyurl.com/MNchildcareFAQ or send your questions to DHS.CCDFReform@state.mn.us.

 

Thank you to:

Tiffany Weeks, Discovery Club Program Supervisor, St. Paul Public Schools
Monika Helmen, Adventures Plus Program Supervisor, Anoka-Hennepin Schools

 

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