NHHS Implements Changes Resulting from Child Care and Development Block Grant Reauthorization

by | May 11, 2017

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), passed and signed into law in 1996, was reauthorized by a strong bipartisan vote in 2014, the first reauthorization since the original law was passed. Staff at the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services have worked tirelessly since the reauthorization to implement new policies. First Five Nebraska thanks all of those involved in our state for their commitment and vision for the future of Nebraska’s children, families and the providers who will benefit from these new policies.

The improvements are in the areas of health and safety, monitoring and inspections, consumer education, disaster preparedness, homeless training and outreach, subsidy eligibility factors and better billing practices. Regulations that have already been approved by the Governor and went into effect on January 9 are:

  • Exclusion of resources under $1 million dollars
  • Eligibility redeterminations no less than 12 months and no greater than 18 months
  • Transitional child care and 10% earned income disregard
  • For self-employed providers, 49% of monthly work expenses can be deducted
  • Allowance for payment of tribal wards without regard to income

Additional regulations in draft form and being reviewed internally are:

  • Defining temporary changes that do not exceed 3 months, including time-limited absences from work or training, sick leave, parental leave, holiday or school breaks and other pauses in work
  • Allowing 3 months of job search to re-engage in employment/school
  • Continuous coverage for 13-year-olds and 19-year-olds with special needs
  • Family fee will not increase during authorization period—fees would be no more than 7% of countable income
  • Allowing homeless families 3 months of child care to secure housing and employment
  • Allowing providers to bill up to 5 days per month for child absences

While overall, program funding stays at relatively the same levels in areas outside of quality care, there are statutory requirement changes that should be noted. To name a few, states will be required to establish or implement: Annual training and professional development for providers; policies regarding emotional health of children and developmental screenings for children at-risk of developmental delays; state spending requirements on quality funds to set activities; early learning guidelines 0-5 that detail age-appropriate progress and adopt criminal background checks for those working in child care centers.

Cost Model to Estimate True Cost of Providing Quality Care
First Five Nebraska will be completing a quality cost model during the remaining months of 2017 to estimate the true cost of providing high-quality child care. Our vision and hope is to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and others to implement this cost model as a potential way to set provider rates rather than the current Market Rate Survey we have today. We look forward to continuing the work with our state partners on behalf of Nebraska’s children, families and providers.

See the states’ plan.

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