EEC Management Bulletin
EMB FY 2010-04

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Subject: EEC Income Eligible Financial Assistance Flex Pool Access for Continuity of Care

Date Issued: April 14, 2010

Effective Date: Immediate

For Use By: EEC Contracted Providers, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs), and Head Start Programs

Synopsis: Reopens access to income eligible financial assistance for continuity of care and implements new flex pool policy

Further Info: bulletinquestions@massmail.state.ma.us

Supersedes: "EEC Management Bulletin: EMB FY 2010-01, URGENT UPDATE on Access to EEC Child Care Financial Assistance," and to the extent that the policies contained in this document conflict with EEC Financial Assistance Policy Guide, the policies contained in this document govern

Introduction

EEC supports continuity of care for families in order to help maintain a stable environment for children and promote parents' continued participation in EEC-approved activities. As you may be aware, EEC had to place substantial limitations on income eligible financial assistance during Fiscal Years 2009 and 2010, due to the economic situation in the Commonwealth. These limitations required EEC to close continuity of care for children in most instances. EEC is pleased to announce that continuity of care categories are now open through vouchers, contracts and the income eligible flex pool, provided families meet income and activity requirements. 1

This Emergency Management Bulletin describes a new policy created by EEC to address use of the flex pool to support continuity of care.

 

Policy: Flex Pool Access for Income Eligible Contracted Providers

In order to support continuity of care for children and management of income eligible child care contracts, income eligible contract providers may increase enrollment in their child care program beyond their maximum obligation through use of the flex pool. Utilization of the flex pool shall not exceed 5% of the current child care contract slots awarded to each income eligible contract provider, respectively. If an income eligible contracted provider currently utilizes its flex pool in excess of 5% of their maximum obligation, the contracted provider may not utilize its flex pool for purposes of continuity of care until the income eligible contract provider has reduced its flex pool utilization below the 5% flex pool threshold established by this EMB.

As per EEC's policy, contracted providers are expected to support continuity of care for families through management of their contract slots. As such, if a child requires continuity of care, the contracted provider shall first seek an available contract slot. If none are available, the provider may place the child into their flex pool, provided the provider is under the 5% cap. If income eligible contract provider's flex pool utilization is at 5%, the provider and/or the CCR&R shall assist the family in seeking a contracted slot at another provider. If the family is unable to locate a new provider with an available contract slot, the family shall be placed back on the wait list with a continuity of care code and their original wait list date.

A list of income eligible contract slots and the number of allowable flex pool slots will be posted on eCCIMS shortly. This report will then be updated prior to each billing cycle to indicate income eligible providers' maximum obligation for each contract, current number of children in the flex pool, and flex pool slot availability. Providers are responsible for maintaining their caseloads at the 5% maximum.

 

Access: Income Eligible Flex Pool

Flex pool slots may only be used to accommodate families with continuity of care needs; the flex pool may not be used for new families. All but one of the continuity of care categories 2 are now open to the flex pool within the 5% rule, provided that the family maintains eligibility for child care financial assistance, including both the income and activity requirements. DCF Referrals to Supportive Child Care (i.e., a child currently in supportive child care whose DCF cases closes) are excluded from the 5% rule, as EEC prioritizes at-risk families. Providers may continue to add these children to their flex pools without affecting their 5% flex pool allocation.


1 For a list of the continuity of care categories, please refer to Table 2.0.1.A - Continuity of Care in the EEC Financial Assistance Policy Guide.

2 Please refer to Table 2.0.1.A - Continuity of Care in the EEC Financial Assistance Policy Guide for the continuity of care categories.