Child Care Subsidy Rules Overview Sept 2011 by Cgh27o83

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									 ACCESS Review of Proposed Rules for Child Care Subisidy Program Rules for the
                               State of Maine
                            September 9, 2011

This document is intended as a tool to study the proposed rules and regulations for Maine
Child Care Subsidy Program. IT IS NOT INTENDED NOR SHOULD IT BE
CONSIDERED TO BE A DEFINITIVE OR LEGAL INTERPRETATION OF
THESE RULES.


What The DHHS Child Care Subsidy Program Rules Document IS:
These are the State of Maine Rules around the Child Care Subsidy Program, which is an
extension of the Federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF.)

These are the specific rules that were referenced in the overall Child Care Development Fund
Plan that the State of Maine sent out for review last month.

Because these rules have legal weight, the State of Maine requires that the administering
agency (in this case, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services) hold a public
hearing to receive input from interested Maine Citizens.

What The DHHS Child Care Subsidy Program Rules Document IS NOT:
  1) This set of rules DOES NOT apply to any child care subsidies provided by any other funds
      than the Child Care Development Fund program, which would include:
          a. Any child care paid for by the TANF program,
                   i. ASPIRE families,
                  ii. TANF Transitional Families.
          b. Any child care paid for kids in DHHS Child Protective Services or Foster Care.
  2) There is an effort to keep these rules consistent between the different State offices
      paying for child care, these rules are only binding for childcare vouchers that are funded
      by the CCDF.

What kinds of “Rules” does this plan define?
Some of the things these rules define:
   1) Who (which families) are eligible for a child care voucher,
   2) What kinds of documentation a family needs to provide to be and/or remain eligible for
      a CCDF

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   3)    How the State will determine a family’s “Parent Co-Payment.”
   4)    How many hours per week and weeks per year a family will be eligible for a voucher.
   5)    What Child Care Providers can accept a child care voucher.
   6)    What and how the Child Care Provider can bill the state.
   7)    How the state will deal with violations of these rules by Parents and/or Providers.

What do the New “Rules” do?
One good way to understand this set of rules, is to see that they reflect a handful Priorities that
the State has been working towards over the past few years. In particular:
    1) They do include all of the changes that have gone into place over the past two years,
       which were not in the previously approved plan, but have come down in memo form.
    2) They officially eliminate any language that referred to “contracted slots” officially
       making Maine an “all voucher” child care system.
    3) They move to fully align the Child Care Voucher system with other State and Federal
       Assistance Programs (i.e. MaineCare, Food Stamps, TANF ect.) One example of this
       would be tying family eligibility and co-payments to Federal Poverty Guidelines.
    4) Overall, there is an increased focus on “Intention Misrepresentations and Fraud” for
       both parents and providers.

The following is a reference sheet that is intended to help folks understand some of the issues
that are reflected in this plan. ONCE AGAIN, THIS IS NOT INTENDED NOR SHOULD
IT BE CONSIDERED TO BE A DEFINITIVE OR LEGAL INTERPRETATION OF
THESE RULES.

Section                    What it Says                                    What it does
2.02.1      “Child Care Subsidy shall not interpreted Unlike Food Stamps or MaineCare, there is a
            to entitle any individual or Family to    limited amount of money to fund these Child
            assistance under this program             Care Subsidies/Vouchers. This simply states
                                                      that the State doesn’t have to provide a voucher
                                                      to all eligible families. That if the money is not
                                                      there, even eligible families may be put on a
                                                      waiting list, rather than given a voucher.


2.02.2      Child Care Subsidy is not a grant or           This section simply re-states the fact that this
            contract with a provider, but instead is       child care voucher money is all about what the
            assistance to the Parent.                      state is doing FOR FAMILIES, it’s not
                                                           about what the state is doing for
                                                           PROVIDERS




                                                      2
2.02.3    This section lists all the legal child care   Licensed Centers and Day Care Homes must
          that can be paid for with a State of          be enrolled in the QRS OR in “Waiver
          Maine Child Care Voucher.                     Status.” Legal Unlicensed, In Home, Child
                                                        Care Providers, Rec Programs, Out of State
                                                        (New Hampshire) and Relative Care providers
                                                        ARE NOT required to be enrolled in the
                                                        QRS.


3.02.2    Children are eligible from 6 weeks            This clarifies that children are eligible UP TO
3.04      through 12 years. Children at not             their 13th birthday (subsidies can cover
          eligible once hey hit their 13th Birthday     children through age 12, but not once they turn
          unless they can document a disability         13, or 19 in the case of disabled children.)
          that keeps them from caring for
          themselves. These disabled children are
          eligible for a subsidy up to their 19th
          birthday.

3.03.1    Children with Special Needs (disability)      This means that children with a documented
          or children from "very low income"            disability and/or children from families with
          families will be "prioritized."               income under 100% of Federal Poverty will go
                                                        to the top of the Voucher Waiting list. -- This
                                                        also means that there is NO priority for
                                                        children in child protective status or foster care,
                                                        and there is no priority for children enrolled in
                                                        "programs of quality."

3.05.01   Children in Child Protective System           Still no return to using a voucher to provide
to        and/or Foster Care are eligible for a         respite, monitoring, or socialization for children
3.05.5    voucher, however only if the                  who have been victims of abuse. (There are
          parent/foster care parent/custodial           some special rules about these kids which
          caregiver needs the child care in order to    follows.)
          work or receive job training.

3.06.1    Students who have been approved for a         A parent who is a student STAYS eligible for
to        voucher "will continued , un-interrupted      up to a 15 week scheduled school break. (The
3.06.3    following a scheduled break in                State DOES NOT pay the provider during
          attendance, upon receipt of an updated        this break, unless the parent can justify the
          school schedule and documentation of          need for care for some other reason, like they
          satisfactory progress and attendance by       found a summer job. It DOES mean that the
          the student"                                  parent who is on a school break DOES NOT
                                                        lose that voucher because he/she is on a school
                                                        break.




                                                    3
4.00 --   "Program Eligibility" refers to the 2nd       This is the cornerstone of these rules and
4.01      part of parent edibility, the "why" the       regulations. These Child Care Vouchers can
          family need child care. The Key               ONLY be used if the need for the child to be
          Language here (and this is not new) is:       cared for makes it impossible for a parent to
          The Parent must be employed or                work or receive job training. There is no
          attending an educational program which        obligation to meet the needs of the child, and if
          prevents the Parent from providing care       the parent CAN care for the child him/her
          and supervision of the children in the        self, he/she is expected to do so. There is also
          household during the time the parent is       no obligation to support families who need the
          participating in the activity. If there are   child care for any other reason than to stay
          two (2) parents in the household, both        employed or train for employment.
          must be employed or attending a
          educational program."


4.01.1    "Per Diem" Employment: "Income                "Per Diem Employment" is the term used to
          Eligible parents employed on a "per           describe someone who is "on call" but does not
          diem" basis and is NOT "self                  have a regular schedule or guaranteed
          employed", may be eligible for a child        employment. A good example would be a
          care voucher if the following criteria is     substitute teacher, who may work one day this
          met: A) the Parent is responsible to          week, five days next week, and not at all the
          recruit a Child Care Provider who is          week after. Under this rule, that parent would
          willing to forgo payment until pay stubs      have to submit documentation of his/her hours
          verifying the hours worked have been          to the Voucher Manager every 2 weeks, and
          submitted to the Department, and B)           then the provider would be paid for only those
          The parent must submit pay stubs to the       days/hours the parent actually needed the care
          Department for all hours requesting           to work.
          Child Care Subsidy on an bi-weekly
          basis."


    4.02 Night Time Employment: "Parents who            This verifies that a parent working nights are
         are employed at night may be approved          still eligible for child care, even though they are
         for a maximum of eight (8) hours               home (asleep) during the day. If they use child
         additional of sleep time. However,             care for the overnight and more child care to
         children shall not remain in care longer       sleep, the child cannot be in care more than 18
         than 18 hours in a 24 hour period.             hours per day.




                                                  4
4.03 to   Criteria for Self Employment: This           The key intent of these rules is to A) Require
4.04.4    section has a great deal of information      the parent to document the fact that the work
          around how a parent documents his/her        they are doing is true employment and B) They
          need for child care when self employed.      are accurately reporting the real income they
                                                       earn from this self employment. In simplest of
                                                       terms, the parent has to document that he/she
                                                       working at least 20 hours a week and that
                                                       he/she is earning at least the equivalent of
                                                       minimum wage. Parents are allowed to make
                                                       less than that during the first year of self
                                                       employment and the first 6 months of the
                                                       voucher, and they are allowed use this "launch"
                                                       explanation of why they have too little income
                                                       only one time in any 12 month period.




4.05.1    Parents needing a Child Care Voucher
to        for "Job Training/Education." This
4.05.3    section also has a great deal of
          information on how a parent documents
          his/her need for child care because of
          education/job training.

4.05.1    "Parents must be enrolled and required       This clarifies that a parent CAN be eligible
          to physically attending classes (either in   for a child care voucher is he/she is taking
          person or by computer) offered at a          computer courses, BUT ONLY if those
          regularly scheduled time, and there is no    courses are at a set time, when the child is up
          other parent in the home available to        and around and there is no other parent
          care for the children and the Parent is      available. (i.e. if you can log in any time for the
          enrolled at least 6 credit hours per         coursework, no voucher -- if the course is on-
          semester."                                   line after dinner, when the spouse is available,
                                                       no voucher.)

4.05.3    "Parents who attend educational              "Students" who are using a child care voucher
          activities MUST provide documentation        need to maintain a 2.0 Grade point average,
          of satisfactory progress and attendance."    and have to submit their grades (or some other
                                                       official document) which documents satisfactory
                                                       attendance and progress.




                                                  5
   4.07 "One Parent with a Disability -- "In a          The state now requires the documentation of
        two parent home, if one parent has              disability to be either confirmation of a Social
        documented disability which renders             Security Administration or State MaineCare
        him/her unable to care for the children,        Team confirmation of disability. This process
        and the other parent is working or              may take a year to get this kind of
        attending an educational program, the           documentation, but the family can still be
        children will be eligible for a child care      eligible for the voucher if they can prove that
        subsidy" (providing the family is income        they have started the process within 90 days of
        eligible.)                                      their voucher application. (There are other
                                                        allowances for a sick parent, please see below.)



4.08.1    Maternity/Paternity Leave -- "The             The provider can bill for this time period
          Department will pay for up to eight (8)       EVEN IF THE CHILD DOESN'T
          weeks of child care (FOR FAMILIES             ATTEND". This time is not counted as
          ALREADY APPROVED FOR A                        part of the "excused absences" for the child.
          VOUCHER) for a child whose parent is
          on maternity leave.

4.8.02    Medical Leave --"The Department will          Once again, the provider can bill for this time
          pay for up to eight (8) weeks of child        period EVEN IF THE CHILD
          care (once again FOR FAMILIES                 DOESN'T ATTEND". This time is not
          ALREADY APPROVED FOR A                        counted as part of the "excused absences" for
          VOUCHER) for a parent on short term           the child.
          medical leave.

4.08.03   Looking For Work -- The Department            This is one more example of a policy which is
          will pay for up to eight (8) weeks of child   very parent friendly, but only applies to parents
          c are (once again FOR FAMILIES                who have already been approved for a child car
          ALREADY APPROVED FOR A                        voucher. A parent CANNOT start a
          VOUCHER) FOR PARENT WHO                       voucher unless they are already working and/or
          HAVE A) Lost work or B) Who have              in job training.
          completed school and are now looking
          for work. PARENTS MUST
          CONTACT DHHS (VOUCHER
          MANAGER) AND COMPLETE A
          JOB SEARCH REQUEST FORM)




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5.01--    "The Child must be a U.S. Citizen or a       This Section has the very specific list of what
5.01.7    'qualified' alien' as defined by the         will and will not be accepted as proofs of U.S.
          immigration and Nationality Act."            Citizenship for the child enrolled. It's useful to
                                                       remember that this requirement if for the
                                                       CHILD, not the Family. So far, Legal
                                                       Aliens can access a voucher IF the child is a
                                                       U.S. Citizen.

5.02 --   "Child Care Subsidy Applicants must be       This is separate from the documentation of the
5.02.2    a resident o the state of Maine.             child's citizenship. This Section has the very
                                                       specific list of what will and will not be accepted
                                                       as proofs of Maine Residency for the Family.


5.05 to   Family Size: This is all about who is and    This is important for families to understand.
5.08      who is not viewed as "family" for the        Eligibility for a voucher is based both on the
          purposed of establishing eligibility. This   family income for the family size, and
          section gives a very detailed list of        "Program Eligibility" is determined (in part)
          different potential combinations.            on if there is another adult in the "family" who
                                                       can watch the kids. Under these rules (which
                                                       are now consistent with Maine TANF rules)
                                                       the adults included in the child's "family"
                                                       would be limited to parents and marriage (i.e.
                                                       an un-married couple living with their children,
                                                       both adults and the children are in the "family,
                                                       a married couple living with children from a
                                                       previous marriage both adults and children are
                                                       in the family, an unmarried couple living with
                                                       his or her children, only the biological parent
                                                       and children are in the "family." A parent
                                                       living with his/her children at the
                                                       grandparent's home, only the children and their
                                                       parents are part of the "family.)




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5.06 Child Supports: "All biological parents       The state requires all "single parents" to either
     applying for Child Care Subsidy for           show that the "other parent" is meeting his/her
     children of an absent parent must submit      obligations to support the child. So, in order to
     a copy of child support order and show        be approved for a child care voucher, the parent
     proof of child support received or            needs to A) Show a copy of a court approved
     pursued from each absent parent within        child support agreement AND proof the child
     the household, with some exceptions."         support is being paid, or B) Register with the
                                                   State of Maine Child Support Enforcement
                                                   Bureau (parent is given 90 to do this), or C)
                                                   Show "good cause" (provide reasons to the
                                                   Voucher Manager why it would endanger the
                                                   parent or child or is for some reason,
                                                   unreasonable), or D) Demonstrate some other
                                                   reason that this requirement should be waived
                                                   (Other parent is under 18 years old, other
                                                   parent is in jail for the duration of the child's
                                                   voucher agreement, other parent is dead.

5.09 Income Included in "Gross Family              This section lists all the different kinds of
     Income" -- Gross Family Income is             income that need to be included when the state
     calculated before deductions such as          determines income eligibility, and the list is
     income taxes, employee's social security      pretty long and inclusive and what is not. A
     taxes, Fringe Benefits deductions , union     couple of examples of what is NOT counted as
     dues etc.                                     income that folks have asked about would
                                                   include: A) Court ordered Child Support paid
                                                   OUT to another family, B) Federal Earned
                                                   Income Tax Credits , C) Any loans, including
                                                   student loans, D) The Value of "non-cash"
                                                   benefits, such as based housing for military
                                                   folks, and E) Housing allotments for military
                                                   families who have one or both parents deployed
                                                   in a foreign country.


5.15 "The (family's) income and eligibility will   This State has the right and will confirm the
     be verified through an income and             income information that parent provide by cross
     eligibility review System (IEVS).             checking with a number of different State and
                                                   Federal data bases, so it is in the parent's best
                                                   interest to be honest and consistent when filling
                                                   providing this information.




                                             8
  6.016 The unauthorized assessment of fees by           This states quite clearly that, in most cases, the
        a Child Care Provider may constitute a           ONLY fee that the provider can charge the
        breach of the Provider Agreement,                family is the Fee that the State has computed.
        enabling the Department to terminate             (If the family is required to pay $25 per week
        the Provider Agreement."                         toward their child care, that is all the provider
                                                         can charge. There are some exception to that
                                                         rule listed in section 7.07, and these would
                                                         include: A) The Provider CAN require a
                                                         ONE TIME deposit, registration fee,
                                                         application fee IF THEY CHARGE THIS
                                                         ONE TIME FEE TO ALL
                                                         FAMILIES, B) The Provider can charge a
                                                         "Special Activity Fee" (i.e. we all going on a
                                                         field trip to the zoo) BUT IF THE
                                                         SUBSIDIZED PARENT CAN
                                                         CHOOSE TO NOT PAY AND
                                                         PARTICIPATE AND THE
                                                         PROVIDER WILL NEED TO
                                                         PROVIDE ALTERNATIVE CARE
                                                         FOR THAT CHILD, C) If you provide
                                                         some service outside of regular child care (i.e.
                                                         transporting the children) you can charge the
                                                         family IF YOU ARE ALSO
                                                         CHARGING ALL FAMILIES THIS
                                                         FEE AND THIS FEE IS NOT
                                                         CONSIDERED A CONDITION OF
                                                         ENROLLMENT, D) You can charge for
                                                         late pick up, IF YOU CHARGE ALL
                                                         FAMILIES FOR LATE PICK UP.

6.02.2   "All eligible parents will be asses a sliding   Key to this provision is that the State will
         fee based upon family size and gross            continue their policy of setting one fee regardless
         income. The parent fee does not vary            of how many hours per week a child need the
         with the number of children in care, the        care. (i.e. if the family parent fee is set at
         amount of care they need, or the type of        $25.00 a week, they will need to pay that
         care they choose."                              $25.00 if the child come 10 hours a week or
                                                         40 hours a week. Provider Reimbursement,
                                                         however, will be based on the number of hours
                                                         per week the family needs care.




                                                  9
6.02.10   "The Parent Fee will be determined at       This section is really important for families,
          the time of the application when the        and in most cases is really "family friendly."
          annual redetermination is conducted.        What this says is that the parents are re-
          The fee shall remain the same until the     determined for eligibility and establishing their
          next annual redetermination, unless an      "co-pay" once a year, and that "parent fee" is
          ongoing decrease in income occurs that      set for the year. If the parent income GOES
          is expected to last for at least two (2)    DOWN, they can as for a re-determination to
          months or more....Families shall be         lower their parent fee IF THAT INCOME
          subject to the gross income limit for       REDUCTION IS EXPECTED TO
          eligibility an shall report increases in    LAST AT LEAST 2 MONTHS.
          income exceeding one hundred ($100)         Families who receive an income increase
          per month, even if the change does not      WILL NOT SEE THEIR PARENT
          immediately affect the Parent Fee.          FEE INCREASE, but they ARE
                                                      REQUIRED TO REPORT ANY
                                                      INCOME INCREASE THAT
                                                      TOTALS MORE THAN $100 PER
                                                      MONTH, which is to determine if that
                                                      income increase will put them over the income
                                                      limits for the voucher program.

6.03.1    "Neither the Department not the child       The state want the parent to held responsible
          care provider ahs the authority to          for paying their full share. You (the provider)
          categorically waive the Parent Fee."        can't ignore the parent fee, even for a class of
                                                      clients (i.e. Child Protective children) which can
                                                      be a problem, (see below.)

6.03.2    "Service will not be denied (without        This means that, if the provider enrolls a Child
          written approval of the Department of       Protective child into the program, they will be
          Tribal Caseworker) when Open                assessed a parent fee (based on family size and
          Protective, Post Protective, and Care and   income) like everyone else. The provider can
          Custody referred clients refused to pay     terminate most voucher families if they do not
          the assessed fee. The Department will       pay this parent fee, BUT YOU CANNOT
          notify the appropriate caseworker for       TERMINATE SERVICES TO
          resolution."                                CHILD PROTECTIVE FAMILIES
                                                      FOR NON PAYMENT, UNLESS
                                                      YOU'VE RECIEVED PERMISSION
                                                      FROM THE CASEWORKER. There is
                                                      no provision in the rule for how the provider
                                                      would make up the difference in this fee.




                                                10
7.01.1    "Providers (accepting the voucher         There is no clear form or format on how the
          funded families) are responsible for      Provider is supposed to provide this
          notifying the Department immediately if   information, nor are there any rules around
          they learn of potential changes In the    how the provider gains this information.
          parent's eligibility."

   7.02 "Providers who are NOT ELIGIBLE             This section lists all of the ways that would
        TO RECEIVE VOUCHER                          exclude a provider from the Voucher Program.
        PAYMENTS."                                  These would include: A) If you owe money to
                                                    the State from any source, B) If you were
                                                    found to be engaged in fraud or an intentional
                                                    violation of the Voucher Program rules, C)
                                                    Had your voucher agreement "terminated"
                                                    because fraud or intentional misrepresentation."
7.03.5-   "The Legal Unlicensed Provider AND        This section makes the rules around
7.03.6    ALL ADULTS RESIDING IN THE                background checks for "Legal Unlicensed"
          HOME WILL BE REQUIRED TO                  providers consistent with Licensed Home
          ALLOW THE STATE TO OBTAIN                 Providers (i.e. the primary caregiver AND
          ANNUAL BACKGROUND CHECKS                  everyone else living in the house) need to pass a
          FROM CHILD PROTECTIVE                     background check. ALSO, THESE
          SERVICES, STATE BUREAU OF                 PROVIDERS WILL NOT BE ABLE
          INVESTIGATION, AND                        TO BILL THE STATE UNTIL THE
          DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR                       STATE HAS THE CLEAN
          VEHICLES….Child Care Subsidy              BACKGROUND CHECKS IN
          payments WILL NOT BE INTITATED            HAND.
          UNTIL SATISFACTORY
          BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE
          COMPLETED ON ALL ADULTS
          RESIDING IN THE HOUSEHOLD.
          PAYMENTS ARE NOT MADE
          RETROACTIVE."




                                              11
   7.06 Child Care Provider Payment                 This whole section talks about how the state
                                                    will pay providers. Key here is A) State
                                                    commits to continue a county by county market
                                                    rate (based on the bi-annual market rate
                                                    study), B) The Provider will need to have a
                                                    "Provider Agreement with the State (same as
                                                    what we have now) C) The total amount the
                                                    Provider can receive for the child (the
                                                    combination of the Parent Fee and the State
                                                    Payment) cannot be higher that the Market
                                                    Rate for your county OR what you are
                                                    currently charging your other families. (You
                                                    can charge your private families MORE than
                                                    your Voucher families, but you CANNOT
                                                    charge your private families LESS than your
                                                    Voucher families!!!)
8.01.1   How Parents "Maintain Eligibility"         This Section talks about how a family keeps
                                                    their eligibility. The following are those things
                                                    a parent have to report to DHHS: A)
                                                    Changes in employment (employer or hours,
                                                    loss of job etc.) B) Income increases of more
                                                    than $100 per month, C) Changes in Child
                                                    Care Provider, D) Changes in Family Size,
                                                    D) Changes in the number of hours of child
                                                    care is needed.

8.01.3   "A six month report of the information     This means that, while the family's eligibility,
         currently used will be sent to parents.    parent fee, etc. are set for the year, DHHS
         Parents will report any changes in that    WILL require the parent update this
         information and return it to DHHS          information every 6 months. However (And
         within 30 days (by mail) DHHS will         this is important) this 6 month review will be
         update the eligibility when a change has   initiated by the State Worker, but the parent
         occurred."                                 MUST RESPOND TO THIS
                                                    REQUEST FOR INFORMATION!!!




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8.02.2   The Department will send the Parent            As noted earlier, the parent voucher agreement
         written notification at least thirty (30)      is good for one year. IF THE FAMILY
         days before the re-determination is due,       RECEIVED ANY OTHER FORM
         the child care provider will also be           OF STATE SUPPORT (i.e. Food Stamps,
         informed. … All Parents receive Child          MaineCare etc.) their "re-determination date"
         Care Subsidy being re-determined must          will be the same as the annual redetermination
         provide information to the Department          for these other state programs (regardless of
         at least 12 days prior to the end of their     when they enrolled with the voucher program.)
         current award letter."                         30 Prior to this date, DHHS will MAIL a
                                                        redetermination package to the parent, with a
                                                        request that they mail back the forms with the
                                                        appropriate documentation (pay stubs, class
                                                        schedules etc.) They need to mail this back to
                                                        the state at least 12 days before the end of the
                                                        contract (so, if they get this package on time,
                                                        they have 18 days to return it to the state.)

8.04.2   "In the event that a Parent completed          This is important: This says that, even if the
         the required eligibility forms but failed to   parent returns the forms on time, but hasn't
         provide the requested documentation or         included all the documentation (or by mistake
         is found to be no longer eligible,             has included the wrong documentations) they
         payment will not be made beyond the            will lose their voucher eligibility.
         date of the current award letter."

   8.06 Billing and Payment                             This is where the document speaks to how the
                                                        provider gets paid. In simple terms: A) The
                                                        Provider will bill the state every two weeks, B)
                                                        (If the billing is correct) DHHS agrees to
                                                        PAY THE PROVIDER WITHING 10
                                                        DAYS (after they receive the bill) C)
                                                        DHHS WILL NOT pay any voucher billing
                                                        that is over 60 days old.

 9.0104 DHHS will "reimburse providers based            This is important, the State will look at both
        upon the number of hours the parent             what a child is SCHEDULED for and
        qualifies for subsidy AND THE                   WHEN THE CHILD IS IN
        NUMBER OF HOURS THE CHILD                       ATTENDANCE when paying the provider.
        IS IN CARE.                                     LOOK CLOSELY AT THE RULES
                                                        AROUND "APPROVED AND UN-
                                                        APPROVED ABSENSES, in section
                                                        9.05 below.

9.01.4   "The Child Care Provider will maintain         Many smaller providers have a hard time
         DAILY ATTENDANCE RECORDS                       keeping records, but this implies that the state
         and RETAIN THESE RECORDS FOR                   could come in and ask for this verification for
         THREE (3) YEARS.                               up to 3 years after the date you’ve billed for.

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9.01.5    Parents and Providers need to SIGN         Once again, many providers have historically
          ATTENDANCE SHEETS WEEKLY                   not required parents to sign attendance sheets.
          AT MINIMUM.
9.02.5    "If it is the established practice for a   This is important. Providers can bill the state
          LICENSED child care provider to            for days they are shut down (holidays) and for
          charge the general public for such         up to one (1) week of vacation time a year IF
          periods of time, the Department will pay   THEY ALSO CHARGE THEIR
          the providers for holidays and up to one   "PRIVATE FEE CLIENTS" FOR
          week of provider vacation.                 THIS SAME TIME!!! This is only for
                                                     Licensed Home Day Cares and Licensed
                                                     Centers (i.e. Legal Unlicensed provider are not
                                                     allowed to bill for these days.)
9.05.1-   Children's Absence from the Child Care     We are kind of concerned about this section
9.07      Program                                    does a lot of things, including defining what are
                                                     "Reasonable Causes" for children being absent
                                                     from the program (assuming every other reason
                                                     would be "un-acceptable absences.) A child is
                                                     allowed only 2 days per month as
                                                     "unacceptable absences", but also only allowed
                                                     200 hours of "acceptable absences per year" for
                                                     children in full time care, which also only
                                                     averages out to about 2 days per month of
                                                     "acceptable absences." The language here isn't
                                                     clear about what happens if a child is out for
                                                     more time than allowed. The way it reads now,
                                                     it could read that the family could lose the
                                                     voucher and/or the provider could lose the
                                                     voucher contract. Either way, pre-school
                                                     children get sick a lot, so this is an area of
                                                     concern.

10.03.5- "As children are accepted for service       These sections may look confusing, but what
10.04.1 from the waiting list, subsidies will be     they appear to mean is that, when a family is
         provided for all siblings residing in the   approved for a voucher, all the children needing
         home…No preference is given to              child care are equally eligible (if there is enough
         current subsidy recipients for newborn      money available. However, when a new child
         children."                                  enters the picture, he/she is treated like a new
                                                     child entering the system (if there is a waiting
                                                     list for vouchers, the new child goes on the
                                                     waiting list.




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11.02 Immediate Termination of Child Care    This whole section lists all the ways the state
      Provider by the Department             can refuse a provider from accepting voucher
                                             monies. None of these are new, and they
                                             include the obvious (i.e. loss of license,
                                             abuse/neglect in the child care setting, abusive
                                             behavior towards the child or parent) the kind
                                             of obvious (misrepresentation or fraudulent
                                             reporting of services when requesting payment,
                                             discrimination as defined by Maine law
                                             towards children or parents,) and some that the
                                             average provider may not be aware of (Repeated
                                             failure of the provider to submit timely and
                                             accurate billings, Fee Collections in excess of he
                                             assessed parent fee, FAILURE OF THE
                                             PROVIDER TO NOTIFY HE
                                             DEPARTMENT WHEN THE
                                             PARENT HAS BEEN ABSENT
                                             FROM THE PROGRAM FOR MORE
                                             THAN 2 DAYS PER MONTH
                                             WITHOUT REASONABLE CAUSE.




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12.01 Improper Payments        There is lots here in this section, some of the
                               key areas would include: A) If an
                               "underpayment" (where the state paid too little)
                               and the it is the fault of the parent or the
                               provider, the state will not "consider this a n
                               underpayment EXCEPT WHEN THE
                               CHILD CARE PROVIDER MAKES
                               A BILLING ERROR AND THE
                               DEPARTMENT RECIEVES
                               WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE
                               ERROR WITHIN THIRTY
                               CALENDARE DAYS OF THE
                               DATE OF THE PAYMENT."
                               Overpayment (where the state pays more than
                               they should have) will be considered a "program
                               violation" (where the parent or provider would
                               lose their voucher contract if "The parent or
                               child care provider withheld or provided false
                               information." and C) IF the parent or provider
                               has been found to be "in violation", the parent
                               and/or provider will be "found in violation"
                               UNLESS THE PARENT AND/OR
                               PROVIDER REQUESTS (IN
                               WRITING) AN "ADMINISTRATIVE
                               HEARING" TO APPEAL THAT
                               DECISION.




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