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1 EEC REGULATION REFORM – Subsidy Revisions and Final Draft April 10, 2012 Board Presentation.

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Presentation on theme: "1 EEC REGULATION REFORM – Subsidy Revisions and Final Draft April 10, 2012 Board Presentation."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 EEC REGULATION REFORM – Subsidy Revisions and Final Draft April 10, 2012 Board Presentation

2 2 2 Why Amend the EEC Subsidy Regulations? Factors contributing to the need to review and amend the Regulations include: Identifying and Implementing Best Practices Review regulations every 5 years (last updated in 2006) Analyze other State child care subsidy laws and policies Address unique challenges/weaknesses identified due to recent fiscal constraints/system restructuring (e.g., closure/limited access to EEC financial assistance, CPC transition, Voucher Reassessment) Targeting/maximizing limited resources Addressing user feedback/achieving efficiencies Addressing Federal & State Oversight concerns Reduce opportunities for Fraud, Waste and Abuse Address Improper Authorizations for Payment (IAP) results Respond to ACF regarding EECs State Plan Align with ANF Task Force established to review MA public assistance programs Ensure Program Integrity

3 Technical Regulatory Changes To ensure compliance with current laws/policies and aid in the interpretation and enforcement of the regulations Family Size and Household Composition (codifies existing practice) o Clarifies verification of household members necessary for purposes of determining eligibility and establishing parent fees. Data Sharing/Interfaces Authorization (new) o Authorizes EEC to request and/or provide information to/from other government agencies, contracted providers, other states and financial institutions for purposes of verifying eligibility. Additional Documentation (codifies existing practice) o Authorizes providers and/or CCR&Rs to request additional documentation, if file indicates application inaccuracies/ contradictions. Travel Time (codifies existing practice) o Requires applicants to present a minimum of 20 hours of service need before allowing travel time to be factored in. 3

4 Technical Regulatory Changes (contd) Termination and Reduction of Services (amends current regulations) o Updates reasons for subsidy denial, reduction or termination to include submission of false or misleading information and/or documentation. Review Process (codifies existing practice) o Clarifies scope of review. o Allows for termination of continued subsidized child care when it is determined that there is no genuine issue of material fact as presented by the parent in the Request for Review. o Clarifies the duties and expectations of the parties during the EEC Review Process, including the contents of the record. o Allows Review Officer to make a decision within 30 days or as promptly as administratively feasible to align with that of Hearing Officer and the Standard Adjudicatory Rules of Practice and Procedure (801 CMR 1.02) in recognition of number of reviews received. o Allows for dismissal of a request for informal hearing when parent fails to prosecute his/her claim. 4

5 Substantive Regulatory Changes Identity, Residency & Citizenship Status o Requires verification of applicants identity and residency, as well as the citizenship/immigration status of each child seeking assistance. Child Support Enforcement Requirement o Requires single parent applicants to submit evidence of child support and/or cooperation with the Commonwealths Child Support Enforcement agency, as a condition of eligibility. Child Attendance/Reimbursement Requirements o Requires children to regularly attend early education and care programs subsidized by the Commonwealth or risk termination and/or non-reimbursement. Limitations on Self-Employment o Imposes restrictions on certain work-related service need activities, in particular, at home self-employment o Changes methodology for calculating service need – total earnings divided by minimum wage to establish amount of care needed. Special Needs (Protective Services) o New definition of protective services to include parents and children with documented disability and/or special need; limits authorization period. o Eliminates child with special need as a single service need. 5

6 Formal and Post-Formal Public Comment Period 6 o Formal public comment on the proposed amendments began on September 21 st and ended October 21, 2011 with 6 public comment hearings conducted throughout the state. Approximately 150 individuals attended and over 50 individuals testified. Additionally, EEC received 42 written comments. o Post-closure of the formal public comment period, EEC analyzed and compiled the comments and suggestions. o On November 2, 2011, EEC staff held formal meetings with the Governors Council to Address Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, as well as representatives from legal advocacy group, including Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI). On December 20 th, EEC staff met again with GBLS and MLRI to discuss their remaining concerns. o EEC continued discussions on the proposed amendments with the Procedures Working Team and other Executive Agencies, including the Department of Revenues Child Support Enforcement Division.

7 Summary of Common Themes from Public Comment Received by EEC Strong Opposition to the following topics: Imposition of a Child Support Requirement on Single Parents Impact on families experiencing domestic violence Complexities and dangers of Family & Probate Court System Approved Activity - Seeking Paid Employment Prioritize care to parents who lose their jobs and care but have a qualifying service need in the following 12 months Combining Service Need Activities - Limitations Parents should be allowed to combine service need activities of seeking paid employment and special need of parent with other approved activities Changes related to Special Needs Families Time limits imposed on special need/disabled parents Removal of the single service need for children with special needs/disabilities by requiring parents to work/educate/train Verification of Citizenship/Immigration Status Undocumented children are part of our communities and should not be denied access to early education programs 7

8 Summary of Common Themes (contd) Strong Opposition (contd): Home-Based Self-Employment Restrictions Potential impact on Family Child Care programs Potential impact on school-aged children, especially during vacations and holidays Hours of Education or Training for Service Need Does not allow part time college students or others participating in education/training programs to count out of class time towards their service need. Review Process Regulations should not allow EEC to terminate child care services because parent violated policy of a provider or CCR&R Should not be a prohibition on challenging EEC policy; should be specified time for a decision on review or appeal Support or Understanding for the following topics: Child Absences provided that EEC Systems monitor/track absence data Inclusion of Homeless Child Care Program, but sought clarification on HomeBASE 8

9 Child Support Enforcement Requirement PROPOSAL: Requires single parent applicants to submit evidence of child support and/or cooperation with the Commonwealths Child Support Enforcement agency, as a condition of eligibility COMMENT(S): Negative Impact on families experiencing domestic violence; Complexities and dangers of Family & Probate Court System DECISION: Delete Proposed Requirement; Data matching with EOHHS agencies will meet the underlying purpose of verifying household composition 9

10 Parent with Disabilities/Special Needs PROPOSAL: Families with documented protective service needs based on physical or mental disability of parent may receive authorization for one year and renewable once COMMENT(S): Limiting renewals/time limitations inappropriate particularly for those with chronic disabilities DECISION: Language Changed; Removed documented protective service need and extended authorization period to 2 years with allowance for extensions approved by EEC for chronic cases 10

11 Children with Disabilities/Special Needs PROPOSAL: Children with documented special need may be eligible for full time or part time care, provided that parent establishes at least a part time service need COMMENT(S): Removal of the single service need for children with special needs/disabilities will result in terminations of children with high needs DECISION: Requirement Remains; regulations now align with federal regulations that parents need to participate in work, education or training. 11

12 Citizenship or Immigration Status Requirement for Children PROPOSAL: Requires verification of applicants identity and residency, as well as the citizenship or immigration status of each child seeking child care financial assistance. COMMENT(S): Undocumented children are part of our communities and should not be denied access to early education programs DECISION: Requirement Remains; EECs regulations will now comply with the federal citizenship and immigration requirements imposed by ACF 12

13 Limitations on Self-Employment PROPOSAL: Self-employment shall not qualify as an approved activity unless child is 6 or under, or up to 13 if special needs and work is clear and present danger to children or consists of face-to-face meetings with clients COMMENT(S): Hardship on families with school-aged children and hardship to parents engaged in legitimate home-based employment, such as writing/data processing DECISION: Language Changed; Regulation amended to remove restriction on self- employed based on the age of the children seeking subsidy. 13

14 Child Attendance - Absences PROPOSAL: Requires children to regularly attend early education and care programs subsidized by the Commonwealth or risk termination by limiting absences to 30 per 6 months COMMENT(S): Recognize impact of billing for excessive absences BUT requested assurances that attendance tracking be automated, as opposed to current manual system CLARIFICATION: EECs current Child Care Financial Assistance Project will include an automated attendance component to allow for more accurate tracking and attendance monitoring. 14

15 Education or Training as Service Need EXISTING: Requires parents to participate in 12 credit hours or more to be considered for a full-time service need; those with less than 12 may qualify for part time. COMMENT(S): Does not allow part time college students or others participating in education/training programs to count out-of- class time towards their service need. CLARIFICATION: Added that parents participating in less than 12 credit hours of college coursework will have actual credit hours multiplied by 2.5 to establish service need. 15

16 Homeless Child Care Services Program PROPOSAL: Establishes subsidy process that available to children experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness, including eligibility and enrollment COMMENT(S): Unclear if involvement in DHCDs HomeBASE program is included; express language related to continuity of care should be included CLARIFICATION: Added participation in either a homeless stabilization or diversion program and included provision for Continuity of Care if meet income eligibility criteria 16

17 Denial, Reduction and/or Termination of Services and the Review Process PROPOSAL: Clarifies reasons for actions taken against subsidy recipients and requirements for due process; establishes duties and expectations of parties during appeals COMMENT(S): Regulation amendments infringe upon due process rights of families: (1) prohibition against challenging EEC policy should be removed; (2) regulations should not allow EEC to terminate child care services because the parent may have violated a policy of the CCR&R or educator; (3) Review and/or hearing officer should not have unspecified time to decide the case (DTA requires a decision in 45 days in application denial cases and 90 days in most other cases) CLARIFICATION: Modified existing language to strike a balance between due process and establishing responsibilities and expectations of parties during appeal process: (1) Removed prohibition against challenging EEC policy; (2) Kept existing language allowing termination based upon violation of CCR&R or educator policy; (3) Kept language that review/hearing officer has 30 days or as promptly as administratively feasible to align with 801 CMR

18 18 Regulation Promulgation Timeline TasksDate Board votes to approve regulations and promulgate4/10/2012 Submit approved regulations to Joint Committee on Education, House and Senate Start date of 4/11/02 File final regulations in Secretary of State RegisterNot less than 60 days following submission to Education, House and Senate Develop training module for CCR&Rs and early education and care providers (module and training materials to be finalized and incorporated into new Child Care Financial Assistance system training) April 2012 and ongoing; training throughout June 2012 with roll-out of 7/1/2012 Revise EEC Financial Assistance Policy Guide to reflect regulation changes. Prepare technical assistance papers and management bulletins to assist field. Start date of 4/11/2012 with new guide and technical assistance papers/management bulletins issued in June,


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