On July 13, the federal Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), announced a new proposed rule to amend the current Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) regulations.
The changes outlined in this new proposed rule will better support child care providers and help more families access the child care they need. The changes will:
- Reduce the cost of child care for families
- Improve payment rates and practices for child care providers
- Increase child care options for families
- Allow easier and faster enrollment
- Provide consumer and provider education and clarify certain definitions in the current CCDF regulations
These changes would have a significant, positive impact for Nebraska child care providers and families with children in care. FFN urges Nebraskans to submit online comments in support of these proposals.
Members of the public have through August 28, 2023, to submit comments or questions on this proposed rule. To access the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the Federal Register, please use this link: 2023-14290.pdf (govinfo.gov)
To submit comments, please click the green button at this link: Federal Register : Improving Child Care Access, Affordability, and Stability in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF)
When submitting a comment:
- All comments must identify the agency and docket number or RIN information.
- Agency – Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
- Docket Number – ACF-2023-0003
- RIN – 0970-AD02
Please copy and paste the above information into the comment box for each comment you make.
- Clearly identify the issue or issues on which you are commenting or have a question about and provide the following:
- The page number
- Identify the column
- Cite the paragraph/section from the Federal Register document.
- Example: (On page 10999, second column, first paragraph)
We have identified the information you need to copy and paste into your comment in parentheses in each proposed change below.
ACF will review comments and issue final regulations, which are expected to be released in Spring 2024.
The proposed changes are:
Reduce the Costs to Families
- Caps co-payments for families who receive child care assistance to no more than 7% of their income. (pg. 45027, first column, first paragraph). Nebraska already does this
- Allows lead agencies to waive co-payments entirely for families at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level. (pg. 45027, second column, first paragraph)
- Allows lead agencies to waive co-payments for families with disabilities. (pg. 45027, second column, first paragraph)
Improve Payment Rates and Practices for Providers
- Require lead agencies to ensure timely provider payments by paying prospectively (at the beginning of delivery of child care services). (pg. 45030, second column, second paragraph)
- Require lead agencies to use enrollment-based payments instead of attendance-based payments. (pg. 45030, second column, second paragraph)
- Clarifies and encourages lead agencies to use CCDF dollars to pay providers the state’s full established rate, even if the rate is above the private pay price to adjust for the cost of care. (pg. 45046, second column, fourth paragraph)
Increase Child Care Options for Families
- Requires all lead agencies to offer some grants or contract-funded options to parents, especially for scarce types of child care (non-traditional hour care, care for children with disabilities, care for infants and toddlers) (pg. 45046, second column, fourth paragraph)
Easier and Faster Enrollment
- Encourages lead agencies to consider a child presumptively eligible for child care subsidy prior to full documentation and verification of the state’s eligibility criteria and determination. States could use federal CCDF funds for up to three months even if the child is ultimately determined to be ineligible. (pg. 45032, first column, third paragraph)
- Encourages lead agencies to consider children, (i.e., siblings, foster siblings) of a family already participating in the subsidy program, presumptively eligible for child care subsidy prior to full documentation and verification. (pg. 45033, second paragraph, third paragraph)
- Encourages lead agencies to use family-friendly enrollment practices. For instance, it encourages lead agencies to use a family’s enrollment in other benefits programs to verify eligibility for child care subsidy. (pg. 45034, first column, second paragraph) Nebraska already does this
- Encourages all states to use online applications. (pg. 45034, second column, second paragraph) Nebraska already does this
- Changes the definition of major renovation to be based on cost of renovations and not a description of structural change. Any renovation above $250,000 for a child care center and $25,000 for a family home would be considered a major renovation. (pg. 45034, third column, third paragraph)
Consumer and Provider Education
- Changes the required results of monitoring and inspection reports to include areas of compliance and non-compliance and total number of children in care by provider category and license status. (pg. 45051, second column, third paragraph)
- Creates a public report of the sliding fee scale for parent co-payments and policies for waiving co-payments. (pg. 45028, second column, third paragraph)
To submit comments, please click the green button at this link: Federal Register : Improving Child Care Access, Affordability, and Stability in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF).