July 16, 2012
Dear Child Care Provider,
The Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) continues to look for ways to serve as many children and families as possible with the funds available. Due to budget limitations, it has become necessary for DCFS to make a change to the income limits for the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), and to make a change to its policy for payment for absences. These changes were announced in a June 18, 2012, news release:
Notice of Change in CCAP Client Eligibility
Effective August 1, 2012, the income limits will be reduced for parents/guardians receiving Low-Income Child Care (CCAP). The income limit for the family is used to determine eligibility for CCAP and what percentage DCFS will make payments. This means that the amount of state and federal funds being paid to you by CCAP on behalf of the family may decrease and the parent/guardian's co-payment may increase. Some families may no longer be eligible for CCAP. You may continue to charge the same rate but in most cases a larger amount will be due from the parent/guardian.
This change does not affect the amount DCFS pays for children in a Family Independence Temporary Assistance Program (FITAP) or Child Welfare case. Notice of Change Regarding Absences
Effective August 1, 2012, absences for children in CCAP or Child Welfare will no longer be paid at the same level. Up to two (2) absences per month may
be paid for each CCAP child enrolled in your care based on the authorization. The payment process will continue with weekly payments issued for care provided and absence payments made the following month. Providers have the option to charge parents of children enrolled in CCAP for any absences above what is covered by DCFS.
Parents are receiving a notice about this change and will be notified if their co-payment has changed. Please remind parents/guardians to always notify their worker if their household's income has decreased, as this may offset this change for them and their CCAP may be less affected.
It is critical that you, as the provider, ensure that each child is properly checked in and out EACH
time care begins and ends. This ensures timely and correct payment from DCFS, and using the Remittance Advice, you are able to determine the amount due from the parent/guardian.
Please remind parents of their responsibility to check in and out using Tracking of Time Services (TOTS) daily. Parents should designate up to three Household Designees (HD) so there is always a HD who can complete the electronic check-in and check-out on the day that care is provided. Previous check in and out should be avoided. Notice of Change in Foster Parent Co-Payments
In response to requests from foster parents, they will be allowed to choose a provider that charges more than the maximum DCFS payment and enter into a voluntary agreement to pay the difference in the DCFS payment (100% of the state maximum rate) and the amount the provider actually charges. The foster parent voluntarily agrees to the additional expense and this agreement in no way involves DCFS. This change is effective July 1, 2012. Notice of Requirement to Provide Email Address
In an effort to provide timely and more frequent communication to CCAP providers, DCFS is requiring providers to provide an email address and to update this information as the address changes. Information from DCFS will be sent to individual email addresses, and then posted to the Child Care and Early Childhood Education Updates
page on the DCFS website
. A message will be placed on the POS device and the IVR informing you that a new communication has been sent. Regional Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agencies can assist you in setting up a free email account and have computers available during business hours. Public libraries in most communities also provide access. NOTE that notice of any action taken on your CCAP case will continue to be sent by original correspondence. New Provider Agreements Required
In order to continue to participate in CCAP, all providers are required to complete a new Provider Agreement. You will need to download and complete the Provider Agreement that applies to your services. Please read the agreement carefully completing all required information at that time. The completed and signed Provider Agreement must be returned to DCFS. Failure to return a signed agreement by the required due date will affect your CCAP payments. DCFS will inform you when the updated provider agreement is available on the DCFS website. Reminder - Be Prepared: Know what to do if a Hurricane or Other Disaster Occurs in Your Parish
If an emergency covers a large geographical area such as a parish or region of the state, DCFS will closely monitor conditions out of concern for your safety and for the safety of the children and families you serve. In the event of a potential disaster, take the following steps to prepare:
- Stay up-to-date with the status of any storm and its impact on your area
- Be sure to review and update evacuation and safety plans
- Let families know how you will communicate if you are unable to reopen following a disaster
- Review the Frequently Asked Questions below and be ready if a disaster declaration is made for your parish:
DCFS - Child Development & Early Learning Section