5400. Child Care

Approval: Jennifer Strus, Assistant Secretary

Original Date:      July 1, 1995

Revised Date:      July 23, 2017

Policy Review:     July 23, 2021


Purpose 

To provide safe, 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 Children’s Administration (CA) staff.

Laws

RCW 74.13.020     Definitions

RCW 74.15.020     Definitions

RCW 43.215.545   Child care services

Policy

CA staff:

  1. May authorize child care for eligible children residing in their parent’s home and in out-of-home care. WAC 388-165-140
  2. Are responsible for child care for eligible children in licensed and unlicensed 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 CA case, and
    2. The child is 12 years old or younger, or is under age 19 with verified special needs per WAC 388-165-210, and
    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 that child care services are provided by a qualified provider per WAC 388-165-108 and WAC 388-165-235.
  5. Must notify child care providers ten calendar days in advance of a planned termination, e.g., planned placement move, or as soon as possible for an urgent and unanticipated termination, e.g., unplanned or court ordered move.

Procedures

The caseworker must:

  1. When accessing child care for children in CA care and custody placed in licensed or unlicensed out-of-home care:
    1. Use Early Head Start, Head Start or Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), when available, as the first option over CA funded child care for children birth to five years old.
    2. Authorize 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. A two-caregiver family when one caregiver is employed and the other is not employed and is at home.
      2. A two-caregiver family when both caregivers are not employed and are at home.
      3. Caregivers requesting child care for placement stabilization; in these cases, respite or other services should be offered.
    4. Complete a Child Care Program Agreement DSHS form 15-397, obtain the caregiver's signature and include the agreement in the case plan. This agreement requires the caregiver to notify the caseworker of any changes in status that might warrant a change in child care authorization, e.g., a change in employment status.
  2. When accessing child care for children living in their own home:
    1. Determine if resources other than CA funded child care are available to meet the needs of the family.
    2. Use Early Head Start, Head Start or Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), when available, as the first option over CA funded child care for children birth to five years old.
    3. Authorize child care for children living in their own homes to:
      1. Address safety concerns or
      2. Prevent out-of-home placement.
    4. Complete a Child Care Program Agreement DSHS form 15-397, obtain the caregiver's signature on the agreement and include the agreement in the case plan. This agreement requires the caregiver to notify the caseworker of any changes in status that might warrant a change in child care authorization.
  3. Payment for Child Care
    1. Authorize payment for licensed child care only when one of the following criteria is met:
      1. The facility providing the center-based child care program is licensed by Department of Early Learning (DEL) or the equivalent agency in another state.
      2. The family home providing the child care is licensed by DEL or the equivalent agency in another state.
      3. The home or center is certified by DEL or equivalent agency in another state if the child care program or family home is exempted from the licensing requirements by DEL, e.g., military, public schools or Tribal Nations.
    2. Authorize payment for child care with unlicensed Relatives/Family, Friends and Neighbors (FFN) only when the provider is:
      1. A person unrelated to the child providing child care in the child's own home.
      2. A 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.
      3. Complete and document the following to approve the unlicensed FFN provider:
        1. Verify the age, maturity, and suitability of the caregiver. The caregiver must be:
          1. 18 years of age or older.
          2. A U.S. citizen or legally allowed to work in the United States.
          3. Of sufficient physical, emotional, and mental health to meet the needs of the child.
        2. Complete a background check per 6800. Background Check policy.
    3. Authorize payment of a registration fee to the providers when:
      1. A child is first enrolled with a provider.
      2. A child is enrolled in a child care provider during the eligibility period outlined in the Working Connections and Seasonal Child Care Subsidy Program, WAC 170-290-0003.
      3. A child has more than a 60-day break in child care services and the provider has a break in service fee.
    4. A monthly field trip/quality enhancement fee up to 30 dollars per child or the provider’s actual cost for the field trip, whichever is less, may be authorized:
      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, or
      2. As reimbursement to the out-of-home caregiver if the child care is provided in a licensed child care center.
      3. The field trip/quality enhancement fee is intended to cover the provider's actual expenses for:
        1. Admission.
        2. Enrichment programs and/or ongoing lessons.
        3. Public transportation or mileage reimbursement at the state 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.
      4. The field trip/quality enhancement fee shall not cover fees or admission costs for adults on field trips, or food purchased on field trips.
      5. The fee must be required of all parents whose children are in the provider’s care.
    5. 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.
    6. Follow the requirements of WAC 388-165-235.
  4. Special Needs Child Care Rate
    1. Ensure 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. Complete Administrative Approval Request DSHS form 05-210 for the additional cost of care and attach the documentation.
    4. Obtain approval from the Area Administrator on Administrative Approval Request DSHS form 05-210 for the additional cost of care. 
    5. Ensure 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.
    6. Ensure the provider’s training needs and the child’s equipment needs are not covered by special needs care.
  5. Termination of Child Care Services
    1. For a planned termination, e.g., planned placement move, permanency:
      1. Provide child care providers with notice at least ten calendar days prior to the planned termination date. Notice must be provided:
        1. Verbally,
        2. In writing using the Child Care Planned Termination DSHS form 10-433, or
        3. By email
      2. Document termination in FamLink case notes.
      3. Terminate payment authorization in FamLink.
    2. For urgent and unanticipated terminations, e.g., urgent or emergent move or court order:
      1. Notify the provider as soon as possible of the termination.
      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

Child Care Planned Termination DSHS form 10-433

Child Care Program Agreement DSHS form 15-397

Administrative Approval Request DSHS form 05-210