The Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program provides resources to state, territory, and tribal grantees that enable low-income parents to work or pursue education and training so that they can better support their families while at the same time promoting the learning and development of their children. The CCDF program also provides funding to enhance the quality of child care for all children. On November 19, 2014, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 was signed into law (Pub. L. 113-186). The law reauthorizes and significantly revises the purposes of the CCDF program and requirements for state and territory grantees. In September 2016, the final rule was released. The final rule makes regulatory changes to the CCDF program based on the CCDBG Act of 2014. These changes strengthen requirements to protect the health and safety of children in child care; help parents make informed consumer choices and access information to support child development; provide equal access to stable, child care for low-income children; and enhance the quality of child care and the early childhood workforce.

The Plan is the primary mechanism that the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) uses to determine state and territory compliance with the requirements of the law and rule. The Preprint provides a tool for states and territories to describe to ACF their progress on the following sections:

1.       Define CCDF Leadership and Coordination with Relevant Systems
2.       Promote Family Engagement Through Outreach and Consumer Education
3.       Provide Stable Child Care Financial Assistance to Families
4.       Ensure Equal Access to Child Care for Low-Income Families
5.       Establish Standards and Monitoring Processes to Ensure the Health and Safety of Child Care Settings
6.       Recruit and Retain a Qualified and Effective Child Care Workforce
7.       Support Continuous Quality Improvement
8.       Ensure Grantee Accountability

The Department is interested in obtaining your feedback on some of the requirements and how we are doing with implementation and where you see opportunities for improvement.

* 1. Are you a:

* 2. Section One:  Define CCDF Leadership and Coordination With Relevant Systems
This section identifies the leadership for the CCDF program in each Lead Agency and the entities and individuals who will participate in the implementation of the program. It also identifies the stakeholders that were consulted to develop the Plan and who the Lead Agency collaborates with to implement services. In this section respondents are asked to identify how match and maintenance-of-effort (MOE) funds are identified. Coordination with child care resource and referral (CCR&R) systems are explained, and Lead Agencies outline the work they have done on their disaster preparedness and response plans.

While the Department works hard to collaborate and coordinate with many partners we can always do better.  Based on the list of partners that are included in this section, please share who you feel the Department should better collaborate/coordinate with and why.

* 3. Section Two:  Promote Family Engagement Through Outreach and Consumer Education
Lead Agencies are required to support the role of parents as child care consumers who need information to make informed choices regarding the services that best suit their needs. A key purpose of the CCDBG Act is to “promote involvement by parents and family members in the development of their children in child care settings” (658A(b)). Lead Agencies have the opportunity to consider how information can be provided to parents through the child care assistance system, partner agencies, and child care consumer education websites.

The target audience for the consumer education information includes three groups: parents receiving CCDF assistance, the general public, and when appropriate, child care providers. In this section, Lead Agencies will address how information is made available to families to assist them in accessing high-quality child care and how information is shared on other financial assistance programs or supports for which a family might be eligible. In addition, Lead Agencies will certify that information on developmental screenings is provided and will describe how research and best practices concerning children’s development, including their social-emotional development, is shared.

In this section, Lead Agencies will delineate the consumer and provider education information related to child care, as well as other services, including developmental screenings, that is made available to parents, providers, and the general public and the ways that it is made available. This section also covers the parental complaint process and the consumer education website that has been developed by the Lead Agency and the manner in which it links to the national website and hotline. Finally, this section addresses the consumer statement that is provided to parents supported with CCDF funds.

As the Department considers ways to increase outreach and consumer education related to child care subsidy and quality early learning settings what methods should we focus on?  (Choose all you prefer.)

* 4. As the Department works to create a website to provide information to parents and providers what are the most important items you’d like us to consider including on the website?

* 5. Section Three:  Provide Stable Child Care Financial Assistance to Families

In providing child care assistance to families, Lead Agencies are required to implement these policies and procedures:

·         a minimum 12-month eligibility and redetermination periods,

·         a process to account for irregular fluctuations in earnings,

·         a policy ensuring that families’ work schedules are not disrupted by program requirements,

·         policies to provide for a job search of not fewer than 3 months if the Lead Agency exercises the option to discontinue assistance,

·         policies for the graduated phase-out of assistance, and

·         procedures for the enrollment of homeless children and children in foster care, if served, pending the completion of documentation.

In the summer of 2015, the Department implemented a 12 month eligibility policy that allows for the continuation of CDC subsidy when a parent loses their job or stops attending an education/training approval after approval.   What barriers around continuous eligibility still exist?  (Choose all that apply.)

* 6. Families receiving subsidy may have to pay a portion of child care costs called family contribution based on family income and size. The family contribution should not be such a burden that it becomes a barrier to receiving/using subsidy.  Does the family contribution cause barriers for you?

* 7. Michigan continues to work towards increasing access to the child care subsidy for vulnerable children and families.  Lead Agencies are required to give priority for child care assistance to children with special needs, which can include vulnerable populations, in families with very low incomes and to children experiencing homelessness (658E(c)(3)(B); 98.46(a)). The prioritization of CCDF assistance services is not limited to eligibility determination (i.e., the establishment of a waiting list or the ranking of eligible families in priority order to be served).

Note: CCDF defines “child experiencing homelessness” as a child who is homeless, as defined in Section 725 of Subtitle VII-B of the McKinney-Vento Act (42 U.S.C. 11434a) (98.2).

What strategies should the Department consider to ensure we reach these populations? 

* 8. Section Four:  Ensure Equal Access to Child Care for Low-Income Children
A core purpose of CCDF is to promote parental choice and to empower working parents to make their own decisions regarding the child care services that best suit their family’s needs. Parents have the option to choose from center-based care, family child care or care provided in the child’s own home. In supporting parental choice, the Lead Agencies must ensure that families receiving CCDF funding have the opportunity to choose from the full range of eligible child care settings and must provide families with equal access to child care that is comparable to that of non-CCDF families. Lead Agencies must employ strategies to increase the supply and to improve the quality of child care services, especially in underserved areas. This section addresses strategies that the Lead Agency uses to promote parental choice, ensure equal access, and increase the supply of child care.

Lead Agencies are required to develop and implement strategies to increase the supply of and to improve the quality of child care services for children in underserved areas; infants and toddlers; children with disabilities, as defined by the Lead Agency; and children who receive care during non-traditional hours (658 E(c)(2)(M); 98.16 (x)).

What should the Department consider to increase the supply and quality of care for children in underserved areas? 

* 9. What should the Department consider to increase the supply and quality of care for children with disabilities?

* 10. What should the Department consider to increase the supply and quality of care for children during non-traditional hours?

* 11. Section Five:  Establish Standards and Monitoring Processes to Ensure the Health and Safety of Child Care Settings
Lead Agencies are required to certify that there are in effect licensing requirements applicable to child care services in the state/territory. States and territories may allow licensing exemptions, but they must describe how such exemptions do not endanger the health, safety, and development of CCDF children in license-exempt care. Lead Agencies also must certify that there are in effect health and safety requirements applicable to providers serving CCDF children. These health and safety requirements must be appropriate to the provider setting and age of the children served, must include specific topics and training on those topics, and are subject to monitoring and enforcement procedures to ensure that providers are complying with the health and safety requirements.

This section covers licensing requirements, health and safety requirements and training, and monitoring and enforcement procedures to ensure that child care providers comply with licensing and health and safety requirements (98.16(n)) as well as exemptions (98.16(l)). This section also addresses group size limits; child-staff ratios; and required qualifications for caregivers, teachers, and directors (98.16(m)). Criminal background check requirements are included in this section (98.16(o)).

Michigan intends to develop online training modules that will be free of charge to providers.  In addition, providers can take face to face trainings that are included on the list posted at the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) website and meet licensing requirements.  Providers who are required to complete the trainings will have three months after their date of hire to demonstration successful completion.  Please identify any barriers you see for providers.

* 12. Section Six:  Recruit and Retain a Qualified and Effective Child Care Workforce
This section covers the state or territory framework for training, professional development, and post-secondary education (98.44(a)); provides a description of strategies used to strengthen the business practices of child care providers (98.16(z)); and addresses early learning and developmental guidelines.

States and territories are required to describe their framework for training, professional development, and post-secondary education for caregivers, teachers, and directors, including those working in school-age care (98.44(a)). States and territories must incorporate their knowledge and application of health and safety standards, early learning guidelines, responses to challenging behavior, and the engagement of families. States and territories are required to establish a progression of professional development opportunities to improve the knowledge and skills of CCDF providers (658E(c)(2)(G)). To the extent practicable, professional development should be appropriate to work with a population of children of different ages, English-language learners, children with disabilities, and Native Americans (98.44(b)(2)(iv). Training and professional development is one of the options that states and territories have for investing their CCDF quality funds (658G(b)(1)).

Specifically, we are asked to describe how the state/territory developed its training and professional development framework for training, professional development, and post-secondary education. The framework should include these components: (1) professional standards and competencies, (2) career pathways, (3) advisory structures, (4) articulation, (5) workforce information, and (6) financing

As MI continues to work toward a professional development framework for training, professional development, and post-secondary education what are the three most important elements that must be considered?

* 13. Section Seven:  Support Continuous Quality Improvement
Lead Agencies are required to reserve and use a portion of their Child Care and Development Fund program expenditures for activities designed to improve the quality of child care services and to increase parental options for and access to high-quality child care (98.53). The quality activities should be aligned with a statewide or territory-wide assessment of the state’s or territory’s need to carry out such services and care.

States and territories must fund efforts in at least one of the following 10 activities:

·         Supporting the training and professional development of the child care workforce

·         Improving on the development or implementation of early learning and developmental guidelines

·         Developing, implementing, or enhancing a tiered quality rating and improvement system for child care providers and services

·         Improving the supply and quality of child care programs and services for infants and toddlers

·         Establishing or expanding a statewide system of child care resource and referral services

·         Supporting compliance with state/territory requirements for licensing, inspection, monitoring, training, and health and safety (as described in section 5)

·         Evaluating the quality of child care programs in the state/territory, including evaluating how programs positively impact children

·         Supporting providers in the voluntary pursuit of accreditation

·         Supporting the development or adoption of high-quality program standards related to health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, and physical development

·         Performing other activities to improve the quality of child care services, as long as outcome measures relating to improved provider preparedness, child safety, child well-being, or kindergarten entry are possible.

The Department continues to hear about barriers related to the supply of infant/toddler care in Michigan.   What should we consider as we continue to work towards not only increasing the supply of care, but the quality of care?  Choose up to three.

* 14. The Department invests in a variety of activities that support improving the quality of programming for all children, regardless of the location of care.  These are the allowable uses for CCDF funds to improve quality.  Choose the three you think are most important.

* 15. What other funds in MI should be used to support improving the quality of care?

* 16. Section Eight:  Ensure Grantee Program Integrity and Accountability
Program integrity and accountability activities are integral to the effective administration of the CCDF program. Lead Agencies are required to describe in their Plan effective internal controls that ensure integrity and accountability while maintaining the continuity of services (98.16(cc)). These accountability measures should address reducing fraud, waste, and abuse, including program violations and administrative errors.

This section includes topics on internal controls to ensure integrity and accountability and processes in place to investigate and recover fraudulent payments and to impose sanctions on clients or providers in response to fraud.

The Department currently monitors child care provider payments to ensure accuracy and prevent fraudulent payments from being made.  In order to ensure we are not duplicating monitoring efforts where do see an opportunity for efficiencies?

* 17. Are there additional comments you’d like to make about another item in the plan?

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