340:40-5-1. Child care plan
Providing child care is part of an overall plan of service designed to help the parent or caretaker, with whom the child lives, achieve his or her maximum potential for self-support.Quality child care services ensure the parent or caretaker each child has adequate care that affords developmental and learning experiences while the parent or caretaker is engaged in self-support activities. • 1The child care plan consists of many components that link to form a goal-directed child care plan as described in (1) through (11) of this Section.
(1) Child characteristics.The worker gathers information about the child for whom child care is needed including his or her name, age, grade level, and if the child has a disability. • 2
(3) Plan hours.The worker gathers information about the days and hours, including travel time, from the parent or caretaker to document the need factor. • 3
(B) Based on the days and hours the child requires care, the worker approves a full-time daily, part-time daily, a combination of full-time and part-time daily, weekly, or a blended unit type. • 4
(4) Alternative to subsidized child care benefits.The worker and client explore whether there is an appropriate, feasible alternative to Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) subsidized child care benefits. • 5
(A) When the alternative is a spouse or the natural or adoptive parent of the child who lives in the home, the client must use the alternative rather than subsidized child care benefits.
(B) When the alternative is someone other than a spouse or parent of the child, the client may choose whether to use the alternative.
(5) Plan to increase income.At each application or renewal, the client and worker explore ways the client may become more self-supporting by increasing household income.Increasing household income may include pursuing a work promotion, searching for a higher paying job, or increasing job skills.The client must also pursue any identified potential income, per OAC 340:40-7-9. • 6
(6) Back up plan.The worker and client discuss and develop a backup plan for child care when the child cannot go to the usual provider because of illness, school holidays, or other emergencies.The backup plan includes the name and address of a person the client feels he or she can rely on when the normal plan of care cannot be used. • 7
(7) Choice of provider.The worker documents the choice of provider on the application or renewal form. • 8
(A) When the client does not choose a provider at the time of request, the worker provides the client with information to help in making the choice. • 9
(B) The client may choose a family child care home regardless of star level.
(C) The client may not choose a child care:
(i) facility that does not have a valid contract with DHS;
(ii) facility in which the client or his or her spouse, including the child's parent or stepparent, has an ownership interest;
(iii) home in which the child resides; • 10
(iv) home in which the client also works during the hours his or her child is in care; • 11
(v) provider who does not allow parental access during the hours the provider is caring for children;
(vi) program receiving state or federal funds, such as Head Start, Early Head Start, or public schools, and not charging all parents for the hours subsidy payment is requested.EHS-CCP grant programs and OECPs are exempt from this rule; • 12
(vii) provider caring for a school age child during the regular school day when the student could be attending a public or private school during those hours; • 13
(viii) center, when it is a one star facility, unless there are no centers with a higher star status in the community or special exception criteria are met.Special exception criteria are:
(I) the child was approved for care prior to the provider's star status being reduced to one star.The child may remain at the facility unless the child stops attending there for more than 30-calendar days.The child may be approved at the same facility again when the only reason the child did not attend for more than 30-calendar days was because of a school break or circumstances beyond the control of the family, such as the child's illness; • 14
(II) care is requested for a child living in the same home as a child already approved for care per (7)(C)(viii)(I) of this subsection for the same one star child care provider; or
(III) the parent or guardian demonstrates there is no other child care option that meets the family's needs; or • 15
(8) Income determination.Per OAC 340:40-7, the worker determines who is considered part of the household for income determination and what income is countable or excluded.The household's countable income must not exceed the income eligibility threshold, per DHS Appendix C-4, Child Care Eligibility/Copayment Chart.
(9) Family share copayment.The worker refers to DHS Appendix C-4 to determine the family share copayment for each family.The family share copayment is applied before DHS pays a child care subsidy. • 17The family's copayment cost varies based on family size and income.
(A) The family share copayment is determined at approval and may not be increased until renewal, per 45 C.F.R. § 98.21(a)(3).When the worker anticipates changes in household income at approval, such as when the client started a new job and did not receive a full month's pay for the application month, the worker increases household income and the family share copayment for the next month in the certification action.All family share copayment changes made at certification are included in the approval notice(s). • 18
(B) When household income decreases during the eligibility period, the worker decreases the family share copayment, when applicable, per OAC 340:40-9-2(c).Following a decrease, the copayment is not increased until renewal unless the household income exceeds the income eligibility threshold, per DHS Appendix C-4.
(C) At renewal, when the family’s income exceeds the income eligibility threshold, per DHS Appendix C-4, the worker closes the child care benefits.
(10) Social services requests.When a client requests help in meeting the social services needs listed on the application or renewal, the worker provides all available information to aid a client in meeting these needs. • 19
(11) Client rights and responsibilities.The worker informs the client of his or her rights and responsibilities per (A) through (G) of this paragraph.
(A) A child care request is only approved back to the request date when the interview is conducted and verification is provided on the request date.
(B) The client has the right to ask for a fair hearing when the client disagrees with an action taken on his or her case, per OAC 340:2-5. • 20
(C) The provider may charge the client for special fees, such as enrollment or transportation fees, provided these fees are posted and also charged to families attending the facility who do not receive subsidized child care.
(D) The provider may charge the client for care provided in excess of the DHS- approved child care plan when the client chooses to leave the child in care longer.When the provider requires all children in the facility to begin care by a certain time of day and the client's child care plan hours start later, the provider must not charge the client for the additional hours.The client swipes attendance based on the child care plan hours. • 21
(E) The provider may charge the client for any days DHS refuses to pay for care because the:
(i) client did not swipe attendance for the correct days and times his or her child attended child care;
(ii) swipes were denied and the client did not get them corrected within 10- calendar days;or • 22
(iii) provider lost the absent-day payment for a child approved for a weekly unit type because the client did not swipe correct attendance for every day the child attended that month. • 23
(F) The provider may not charge the client for days:
(i) and hours covered in the child care plan when all attendance was correctly swiped, even when the hours are more than customary for a full-time day; and
(ii) the child is not in attendance. • 24
(G) The client is required to cooperate with the DHS Office of Inspector General in any audit or investigation of possible overpayments by the client or by the client's chosen provider.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:40-5-1
1.(a) The worker helps the client become more independent by suggesting ways to increase household income and identifying strengths in the client's life.The Adult and Family Services (AFS) worker and Child Welfare Services (CWS) staff freely share information to develop a plan that best meets the family's needs, when both are working with the family.
(b) The worker explains the importance of early childhood education and encourages the client to choose a higher star status provider.
2.(a) When the child is 4 years of age or older, the worker asks what days and hours the child attends school to determine how many hours the client needs subsidized child care.
3.(a) When the parent or a caretaker is employed, the worker accepts the client's declaration of work hours when pay stubs or other pay information supports the declaration.For example, when the client provides pay stubs or other pay information indicating he or she works 30 to 40 hours a week and states his or her schedule is Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, the declaration is accepted.The worker documents the declaration of the work schedule in the Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) Case Notes.
(b) When the client is an adoptive parent who meets criteria per OAC 340:40-7-12(6) or is a caretaker not legally and financially responsible for the child, the client must provide his or her work schedule or the worker must verify the work schedule with the employer because pay information is not required.When the adoptive parent or caretaker chooses to provide pay stubs, the worker accepts the client's declaration of work hours as described in (a) of this Instruction.The worker documents the work schedule and how it was verified in FACS case notes.
(c) When the client attends school or training, the client must provide a copy of his or her class schedule unless the worker is able to verify the information by phone with the school or training facility.The worker documents the days and hours on the class schedule and how it was verified in FACS case notes.
(d) The amount of travel time approved varies depending on what is reasonable for the client.The worker asks the client how much time it takes to get from the work, school, or training site to the child care facility and vice versa.When the worker approves abnormally long periods of travel time because of extenuating circumstances, such as when the client rides with another person whose schedule varies from the client, or the client lives a long distance from his or her job, the worker documents the circumstances in FACS Case Notes.
4.To determine the appropriate unit type, the worker may use Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) Appendix C-4-C, Unit Type Chart for Child Care Authorizations.
(1) The worker approves a full-time daily unit type when care is needed more than four hours every day authorized for fewer than 15 days per month or more than 23 days per month.
(2) The worker approves a part-time daily unit type when care is needed for four hours or fewer every day authorized.
(3) The worker approves a combination of full-time and part-time unit types when care is needed more than four hours for some of the days and four hours or fewer for other days.When the child is 4 years of age or older, the worker first determines if the child qualifies for a blended unit type before approving a combination of full-time and part-time unit types.
(4) Child care authorized with a weekly unit type is paid at a full-time daily or part-time daily rate for the days the child attends care.An absent-day payment is made to the child care provider for days the child does not attend care only when the child attends the minimum number of days required in the month to qualify.Refer to DHS Appendix C-4-B, Child Care Provider Rate Schedule, to determine the minimum number of days a child must attend to qualify for an absent-day payment and the maximum number of days DHS pays the provider.
(A) The worker approves child care with a weekly unit type when the client needs child care more than four hours each day and for at least 15 days and no more than 23 days per month.The client may require care for any of the need factors, per OAC 340:40-7-7.
(B) Child care is not approved with a weekly unit type, when:
(i) the same child uses two different child care providers;
(ii) any of the care needed is part-time;
(iii) the need for child care is fewer than 15 days per month or more than 23 days per month; or
(iv) the child is using an in-home child care provider.
(C) Refer to OAC 340:40-10-4 for information about how authorizations with a weekly unit type are paid.
(D) The worker approves a weekly unit type for all children attending an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grant program or an Oklahoma Early Childhood Program (OECP) regardless of the parent or caretaker's schedule provided a need factor is met for some of the EHS-CCP or OECP care hours.
(i) For example, the parent or caretaker may work part-time, but the authorization is coded with a weekly unit type.When another child not attending an EHS-CCP grant program or an OECP is included in the household and receives child care, the child is only approved for the days and hours the parent or caretaker meets the need factor, including travel time.
(ii) Refer to Quest article "Early Head Start – CCP Grant Facilities" for a list of EHS-CCP grant programs.
(5) The worker approves a blended unit type for children 4 years of age and older when care is needed Monday through Friday, part-time for the days school is in session, and full-time for school holidays.The rate established by DHS for a blended unit type is higher than for a part-time unit type and lower than a full-time unit type.The rate is based on Oklahoma State Department of Education information regarding the number of full-time and part-time days the child should need care.DHS established two blended unit types, traditional and extended school year.The worker determines the appropriate blended unit type.
(A) The worker approves the traditional school year blended unit type when the child attends a school with a traditional nine-month school calendar.The child care facility must be open on school holidays except summer break for traditional blended unit type approval.
(i) The unit type pays the blended rate from August 16th through May 15th of each year.
(ii) During the summer months, when the child continues to attend the same child care facility, the provider is paid the full-time daily rate with an absent-day payment when applicable.
(iii) The Information Management System (IMS) continues to show 23B during the summer, but for payment purposes the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system pays a weekly unit type.
(B) The worker approves the extended school year blended unit type when the child attends a school with a year round or a continuous learning calendar.Authorizations coded with the extended school year blended unit type receive the extended school year rate for the entire calendar year.The child care facility must be open during school holidays including fall, Christmas, spring, and summer breaks.
(C) A blended unit type is not appropriate, when:
(i) the child requires more full-time care days in addition to school holidays during the school year;
(ii) the child does not need care for school holidays;
(iii) the child requires more full-time care days in addition to school holidays;
(iv) the child uses a different child care facility for school holidays;
(v) the child care facility is not open on school holidays;
(vi) only part-time care is needed;
(vii) more than one child care facility is needed for the child; or
(viii) the child qualifies for a special needs or an in-home child care rate.
(6) Care may only be authorized at one facility per day per child.
(A) The client may use two different providers for the same child when the client uses the second provider on different days of the week.
(B) The total number of units or days authorized for both providers may not exceed the maximum that would be authorized when care is only needed at one provider.For example, the client uses one provider three days per week and another provider two days per week.In this instance, the maximum combined number of days the worker approves care totals 23 days per month.
(7) A child care plan is normally not approved to cover an entire 24-hour calendar day.When due to the nature of the parent or caretaker's work, he or she leaves the child in child care over 24 hours on an occasional basis; the worker may authorize child care after receiving approval from AFS Child Care Subsidy staff.
5.The purpose of discussing alternative care with the client is to help the client consider other possibilities to purchased care that may be more suitable for the child.When another adult is living in the home who is not a spouse or a natural or adoptive parent of the child, he or she may refuse to care for the child.When the client states a spouse living in the home is unable to care for the child, refer to OAC 340:40-7-8(f) for required information to approve preventive or protective child care.
6.The worker refers the client to other agencies for help when appropriate.Possible referral sources include:
(1) the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission;
(2) a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) contracted entity;
(3) Workforce Oklahoma Centers;
(4) the local technology center;
(5) a community college;
(6) the Social Security Administration; or
(7) the Department of Veterans Affairs.
7.Helping the client plan in advance for emergencies when a child cannot go to child care may help the client keep a job.
(1) Persons who may be willing to provide child care in an emergency include relatives, friends, or neighbors.
(2) The client may explore other alternatives with his or her employer, such as working from home or working additional hours after the emergency is resolved.
8.When the client chooses to use a relative as a provider, the worker checks the "relative indicator" field on the Auth. Daycare tab in FACS.
(1) the name and address of the area Child Care Resource and Referral agency for the county.The information is listed in the pamphlet, DHS Pub. No. 98-09, "Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association, Inc. – Your Child Care Resource";
(2) a list of contracted providers.The worker obtains a list by searching the Child Care Locator database available on the InfoNet under DHS Tools and Resources.The worker prints a list of all one plus and higher star child care centers and all child care homes that meet the client's search criteria. When there are no one plus and higher star centers in the community, the list includes the one star centers;
(3) how to request case summaries of potential providers from Child Care Services (CCS) licensing staff or make an appointment to look at the licensing files;
(4) explaining the "star" status of a facility is an indicator the facility meets additional quality criteria.The worker informs the client care is not approved at a one star child care center unless there are no one plus and higher star centers in the community or the client meets exception criteria, per OAC 340:40-5-1(7)(C)(viii).AFS Child Care Subsidy staff must approve an exception.The client may choose a family child care home regardless of the star level.OAC 340:110-1-8.3 describes provider certification for different star levels;
(5) giving the client all or some of the pamphlets CCS produces to help clients choose quality care, which are:
(A) DHS Pub. No. 01-18, "Look for the Stars When Choosing Child Care";
(B) DHS Pub. No. 98-09, "Oklahoma Child Care Resource & Referral Association, Inc. – Your Child Care Resource";
(C) DHS Pub. No. 87-91, "Parent's Guide to Selecting Quality Child Care"; and
(D) DHS Pub. No. 02‑06, "Paying for Child Care Just Got Easier."
11.In rare instances, such as the child's special health needs, an exception may be granted by AFS Child Care Subsidy staff.To request approval, the worker sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.The email must include why the client is unable to use a different child care provider.When approved, AFS Child Care Subsidy staff documents the approval in FACS case notes and sends an approval letter to the provider.
12.(a) Programs receiving federal grant funds, such as Head Start or Early Head Start (EHS) and public schools receiving state funds for education may receive subsidy funds only when all parents are charged for the hours subsidy payment is requested.The worker approves the appropriate unit type based on the parent's schedule and the number of subsidy hours needed.
(b) Due to efforts to increase the availability of high quality child care for low income families, a child attending an EHS-CCP grant program or an OECP is approved with a weekly unit type as long as the parent meets a need factor for some of the EHS-CCP or OECP care hours.Refer to Quest article "Early Head Start – CCP Grant Facilities" for a list of EHS-CCP grant programs.
(c) When there is a tribal child care program in the county for which the client might qualify, the worker asks the client if he or she is receiving subsidized child care benefits from the tribe.
(1) The client cannot receive benefits from the tribe and DHS for the same need factor.
(2) When the client needs child care for different services, it is acceptable for the tribe to cover the cost of one service while DHS pays for the other service, such as when the client works and goes to school.When the tribe pays the cost of child care while the client works, the worker may approve child care through DHS for the hours the client attends school.
(3) When the client chooses to receive DHS subsidized child care, the same rules governing other clients apply to this client as well.
(4) The child care provider must not file a claim with DHS and a tribe for the same need factor.
13.(a) A child receiving home schooling must receive instruction from his or her own parent or caretaker except for the time a tutor might be hired.
(b) A child care provider must not be approved to provide child care in order to home school someone else's child.
(c) The worker must not approve a school age child for child care in order for the parent or caretaker to work or attend school during hours public or private school is in session because he or she wants to home school the child during the evening.
(d) School age is defined as a child enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade.
(e) Exception:a provider may be approved to provide child care for a school age child during the hours public or private school is in session when a child:
(1) with disabilities receives shortened-day services from the local school system; or
(2) is suspended or expelled from school and the school system verifies there is no other educational alternative available to the child.
14.The school break may be due to the parent's or child's school schedule.
15.(a) Prior to granting an exception, the worker gives the parent or caretaker a list of contracted one plus and higher star centers, and when the client wants to use a child care home, all contracted child care homes that meet the client's search criteria.The client is not required to choose a one plus and higher star child care home before considering a one star center when the client states he or she does not want to use a child care home.
(1) When there are no one plus and higher star centers in the community, the list includes one star centers and an exception is not required.The worker then images the list to the case record.
(2) The worker uses the Child Care Locator, available on the InfoNet under DHS Tools and Resources, to generate the list.
(3) The worker instructs the parent or caretaker to contact all providers on the Child Care Locator list to determine if care is available during the hours needed.The client notes on the list why care is not available at these locations or why the provider does not meet the client's needs.The Child Care Locator list must be imaged to the case record.
(4) When the client is unable to find suitable care from the providers on the list, the worker reviews the client's notes and documents in FACS Case Notes his or her opinion regarding when an exception may be granted.
(5) Exceptions may be granted when none of the providers on the client's list:
(A) have an opening during the times care is needed.For example, the client works during the evening or overnight and no one provides care during those hours;
(B) are willing to meet the child's special needs.For example, the other providers are unable to meet the needs of a child with disabilities or provide transportation to and from the child's school; or
(C) are a reasonable distance from the parent's or caretaker's home due to transportation issues.
(b) When the worker agrees an exception is warranted under (a) of this Instruction, he or she emails AFS Child Care Subsidy staff at email@example.com to request exception approval.When the exception is approved by AFS Child Care Subsidy staff, the worker gives the parent or guardian a list of one star center providers.When the client finds a one star center that meets the family's needs, the worker approves the one star center on the system and emails AFS Child Care Subsidy staff at firstname.lastname@example.org to request override of the one-star edit.
17.(a) In the Household tab in FACS, the worker chooses "social services" in the "benefit" field F24 and "added to benefit section" in the "status" field F25 to only add the child approved for child care.All other household members are shown as "not included in benefit.Income and resources are considered in benefit computation" in the "status" field F25.The system calculates the family share copaymentbased on information entered in the Household and Income tabs of FACS and is shown in the "Family Copay" field E53 in the Child Care tab.The system maps this family share copayment to the "copay" field K70 of the authorization section when a change action is entered in the Child Care tab.The family share copayment is never prorated.
(b) The system is only able to calculate one family share copayment per case record.When the client's income must be considered for some, but not all children requesting child care, separate case records must be established.
(1) Examples of situations when the client's income is not considered include, when:
(A) a child receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI)or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and is pre-determined eligible with a zero copayment, per OAC 340:40-7-1;
(B) a child is adopted and meets all five conditions, per OAC 340:40-7-12(6);
(C) the client is not legally and financially responsible for the child, per OAC 340:40-7-6(b)(2); or
(D) at least one child in the household attends an EHS-CCP grant program or an OECP and meets conditions, per OAC 340:40-7-12(7).
(2) The client may choose to include all children and all countable household income on one case when doing so allows every child needing child care to be income eligible.An example may include when one or more children are not income eligible unless the family size increases by including the child eligible for a zero copayment.
(3) When two case records are established, the worker documents in FACS Case Notes the:
(A) reason two case records must be established;
(B) income considered or excluded in each case; and
(C) names of the children approved for child care benefits in each case record.
(c) The family share copaymentis assigned to one provider per case.When more than one provider is used by the family, the worker determines which provider gives the most costly care to the family.The worker uses DHS Appendix C-4-B, Child Care Provider Rate Schedule, to determine the daily rate for each child based on the child's age, child care plan, and the facility's star status.The worker adds the monthly cost of care per child and then per provider.The worker assigns the family share copayment to the provider giving the most care that results in the highest total cost to DHS.
(1) The worker chooses N for non-exempt in the "copay exempt" field K78 of the Auth. Daycare tab for each authorization approved for the provider giving the most costly care to the family.
(2) For all other providers, the worker chooses S for second provider in field K78 "co-pay exempt."
(3) The system maps the entire family share copayment to each child's authorization where the "copay exempt" field is marked N and maps a zero copayment to each authorization marked S in the "copay exempt" field.
(4) The authorization(s) for the non-exempt provider must be open on the system without edits before the worker enters the authorization(s) for the provider exempted from copay.When the worker tries to enter both authorizations at the same time, the authorization coded S in K78 edits as it cannot find an open authorization for another provider.
(d) When a family member enters or leaves the household, the system recalculates the family share copayment after the worker enters a change action in the Child Care tab.The system allows a decrease in the family share copayment, but not an increase during the 12-month eligibility period.Refer to OAC 340:40-9-2 for information about changes in family size.
(e) The entire monthly family share copayment appears on the tape from the point-of-service (POS) machine each time the client swipes attendance at the child care facility.
(f) When a child is removed from licensed child care, the worker assesses if the child's current care arrangement places the child at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation.The worker makes a referral to CWS when appropriate.
(g) Refer to OAC 340:40-7-11(c)(5) for information on court-ordered child care payments and third party payments made directly to the child care provider.
(h) Refer to OAC 340:40-9-2(e) for information regarding calculation of the family share copayment when the client changes child care providers.
19.Each county office maintains a current list of community resources for referral purposes.Before sending the client to a specific agency, the worker calls the agency to confirm the type of help needed is available.
(1) When the client requests information to prevent domestic violence or child abuse, the worker determines whether to complete a CWS referral.When a CWS referral is necessary, the worker contacts the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-522-3511.
(2) When the worker is uncertain how to handle questions or other social service needs mentioned by a client, the worker seeks help from his or her supervisor, or other county office staff.
20.The applicant may request a fair hearing because of actions taken on a child care request as well as a child care application.
21.(a) When the provider requires all children be in attendance by a certain time every morning regardless of the client's work or school schedule, the provider may not charge the client for those additional hours.
(1) Reasons the provider may give for this requirement include limiting disruptions to program content so all children participate fully in the quality content of the child care program or to reduce transportation costs for the provider.
(2) For example, when the client's work or school schedule does not begin until 11:00 a.m., but the provider requires attendance by 9:00 a.m., the client swipes attendance by entering a previous in for 11:00 a.m. on the POS machine when the child is picked up at the end of the day.
(b) When the client chooses to drop the child off at the child care provider earlier than the approved plan of service hours or leaves the child later for personal reasons, the provider may charge the client for the additional hours.
22.The worker emphasizes to the client the importance of checking for an approval message on the POS machine and immediately reporting any pending or denied messages to his or her worker.The video the client must watch emphasizes this responsibility.
23.Refer to DHS Appendix C-4-B for information about weekly unit types and absent-day payments and refer to OAC 340:40-10 for EBT information.