Household

Created on: 
Feb 01 2016

Table of Contents

Related WACs

Working Connections Child Care

Seasonal Child Care

DCYF Clarifying Information (published February 1, 2017)

WAC 110-15-0005

Non-Parental Custody of a Child

Non-parental custody can be shown by court documents signed by a judge, or be an informal written agreement between two parties. Staff may approve eligibility based on the consumer’s statement of circumstances pending final verification.

  • Permanent Custody. (Also known as “legal guardianship”, “3rd party custody” or “dependency guardianship.”) Permanent custody is shown by a final custody order, signed by a judge.

  • Temporary or Emergency Custody are legal documents, signed by a judge.

  • Informal Written Agreements are signed and dated by parent and the caregiver assuming custodial responsibility for the child.

WAC 110-15-0015

In Loco Parentis

Apply WAC 110-15-0015 (1) (f) to all in loco parentis consumers.

Domestic Partnerships Law

Partners registered under RCW 26.60 domestic partnership law are considered two-parent households. Family size is determined as described in 110-15-0015 (1) (d).

Live-In Partner

Apply either 110-15-0015 (1) (b) or 110-15-0015 (1) (c) when determining family size.

Military Leave

When a parent who is out of the home on active military duty returns home for a period of 30 days or less, the family is still eligible for child care benefits. Family size, eligibility and copayment are not re-determined during this time period.

Minor Parents with Legal Custody of their Children

The minor parent is considered a separate family, even if they live with the minor’s parent, guardian or other relative. The minor parent’s parent, guardian or relative is not considered when determining family size.

Minor Parents without Legal Custody of their Children

When the minor parent lives with the legal guardian of his or her children, the minor parent is not considered the consumer. The minor parent is not counted in determining family size for income eligibility and the minor parent’s ability or availability to provide child care is not to be considered. WAC 110-15-0015 (1) (f).

WAC 110-15-0020

Child’s Visitation

If a consumer currently receives WCCC for children residing in the household and another child joins the household for visitation and needs child care, that child is authorized under the consumer’s current benefits with no changes to the consumer’s family size, income or copayment.

Additional Information

What is acceptable verification of household composition?

At the time of application the Department will request verification of household composition when unable to verify with information already on file in agency records.   The client may be asked to provide some of the following as verification:

  • A verbal or written statement, under penalty of perjury, of name and address of the absent parent for each child living in the child care subsidy household.

    • An applicant family is granted a good cause exemption from this requirement if  they do not know the name and/or location of the absent parent, or if they have domestic violence concerns.
  • A written or verbal statement from one collateral contact who is able to attest to the client’s living situation and single parent status.

The Department may send an investigator from the DSHS office of Fraud and Accountability (OFA) to verify the client's circumstance.

Who is counted as part of a household?

The client, any of their natural or adopted children in the home, and their spouse and/or the parent of any of the children who are part of the subsidy household are counted. Extended family members are not counted.

Example: A female client has three children. The father of one of the children also lives in the home, along with the client’s mother. The client is not married to the father, but because they live together and have a child in common, both the client and the father are included in the household which also includes the three children.  This is so even though the father is not the natural or adopted parent of the other two children.
Example: A married client with two children applies. The two children are from a previous marriage and are not the natural or adopted children of the spouse. This is a household of four: The client, the spouse, and the children. This is so even though the spouse is not the natural or adopted parent of either of the children.
Example: A pregnant client applies with her boyfriend and her daughter. Her boyfriend is not her daughter’s father, but is the parent of the unborn child. This is a household of two: the client and her daughter. This is because the boyfriend is neither married to the client nor the parent of the child who has already been born. However, when the client reports that the unborn child is born, the boyfriend and the newborn are added and this becomes a household of four. 
Example: A client has two children: an eighteen-year-old who has graduated from high school and a five-year-old. Her partner is the father of the eighteen-year-old but not the five-year-old. This is a household of two: the client and the five-year-old. This is because the eighteen-year-old is not counted as part of the household, so the client and her partner have no mutual children who are counted.

What if the other parent is temporarily out of the home at the time of the application?

At application and reapplication, if one parent is out of the home either voluntarily or for employment requirements, both parents are included in the household. The Department must verify that the other parent is participating in an approved activity while away. The other parent’s income will be counted when determining eligibility, but their schedule will not. If the parent that is away is not in an approved activity, the household is not eligible, and the application will be denied.

Out of the Country

If the parent is deported, under INS instruction to leave, or is waiting to enter the country legally, the Department will not consider the absent parent as part of the household.  If the parent who is out of the county sends money to the client the income will be counted as child support.

If a parent voluntarily leaves the country, such as to visit a relative, the parent and the income is counted as part of the household.  This household is not eligible for child care.

What verification is needed to show that a child is still in high school?

If a child is 18 years old and still in high school, they are counted in the household. When they graduate or turn 19 years old, they will no longer be counted. Clients do not need to provide verification whether their child is still in high school or not; a written or verbal statement is sufficient. All that is needed is to know when the child is expected to graduate.

What if a client has shared custody?

Shared custody does not affect eligibility, but it may affect the payment authorization when a family is not eligible for full time care.

What is needed if a client is acting in loco parentis or as a non-needy relative?

When an adult who is not a child’s parent has taken over the care and control of the child, they are defined as in loco parentis or non-needy relative. Clients acting in loco parentis do not need to receive a TANF child-only grant to be eligible for child care. Non-needy relatives will normally be receiving a TANF grant on behalf of the child.

In an in loco parentis/NNR case, the Department only counts the income of the children. The guardian’s income is not counted, but must be in an approved activity to be eligible for child care subsidy benefits. If the guardian receives any income or a TANF grant on behalf of the child, this is counted as the child’s income.

The Department must verify the custody arrangement before approving the child care subsidy application. When current verification is not in the case record, the Department will send a letter to the client requesting that they provide proof of the custody arrangement. Verification could include court documents signed by a judge, court order, or an informal written agreement between the two parties.  If verification is not received, the request for child care subsidy will be denied. 

The Department will need to determine if there is a legal order or an informal agreement regarding custody of the children. The type of custody and documentation will determine whose information is needed to determine eligibility.

  • Permanent Custody Orders (“legal guardianship”, “3rd Party Custody” or “Dependency Guardianship”) are final court orders signed by a judge.
    • These are generally effective until the child turns 18.
    • If permanent custody has been awarded to two adults (e.g. grandma and grandpa), both adults must be in approved activities. The Department considers both activity schedules to determine when care is needed.
  • Temporary or Emergency Custody are legal documents, signed by a judge.
    • These typically have an expiration date.
    • If the guardian is married, only one of the spouses must be in an approved activity.
  • Informal Written Agreements are signed and dated by the biological parent and caregiver assuming custodial responsibility for the children.
    • These typically have an expiration date.
    • If the guardian is unable to get a written statement from a biological parent, we are able to use collateral (third-party) statements to verify guardianship.
    • If the guardian is married, only one of the spouses must be in an approved activity.

If any documentation the Department has on file is expired or not current or if the client states that there is newer verification, the Department will request more current verification.

If either of the biological parents lives in the guardian’s home, then the non-needy relative is not eligible to apply for benefits for the child because the parent is considered to be available to care for the child. The parent must apply for benefits.

  • Exception: When a minor parent lives with the legal guardian of his or her children, the minor parent is not considered the client. The minor parent is not counted in determining family size for income eligibility and the minor parent’s ability or availability to provide child care is not to be considered.

To count as one in loco parentis/non-needy relative household, all of the children must be half- or full-siblings. If the children are related in any other way (e.g. cousins) or not at all, the household will be considered as separate cases as necessary to include only half- and full-siblings. In this way, a client may end up with multiple cases.

Example: A client has custody of three of her grandchildren. Two of them have the same mother. One has two completely different parents from the other two. This would be two NNR cases: one with the first two children (because they have the same mother), the other with the other child.
Example: A client has custody of her niece and two nephews. The niece is the child of John and Jane. One of the nephews is the son of John, but not Jane. The other nephew is the son of Jane, but not John. Even though the two nephews are not related, this is considered one household because the niece shares a parent with both of the other children.

In addition, a client applying for Child Care Subsidy benefits for their own children in addition to any other children whom they have custody of will have separate cases for their own children and the other children in their custody. Different verification may be required for each case.

Example: A client has two natural children and has custody of her niece. She applies for child care for all three children. The client and her two natural children are counted as one household while the niece is her own household. The client’s income would be needed for her own case, but verification that she is employed would be needed for her niece’s case.
Example: A client has one son and has custody of her two nieces. The two nieces do not share any parents. This client will have three separate cases: one for herself and her son, and one each for her nieces. This client will need to verify her income for the case with her and her son, and her custody and employment for both of her nieces’ cases.