EEC Management Bulletin
EMB FY 2011-07

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Subject:

Income Eligible Financial Assistance Access Limitations

Date Issued:January 5, 2011
Effective Date:February 4, 2011
For Use By:EEC Contracted Providers, Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs), and Head Start Programs
Synopsis:

Limits access to EEC financial assistance for income eligible families. Closes access to vouchers for families on the wait list and vouchers for siblings.

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

Supersedes September 2, 2010 EMB FY 2011-02 "Access to EEC 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

The purpose of this Bulletin is to close current access to vouchers for income eligible families on the wait list, and to close access to vouchers for siblings of children currently receiving EEC financial assistance. In addition, access to vacant contracted slots must be prioritized for families in need of continuity of care for children currently receiving EEC financial assistance, and for siblings of enrolled children.

Please note the new income eligible access limitations outlined in this Bulletin will be effective on February 4, 2011. Immediate access to financial assistance will remain available to new families referred by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and from the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

Access to Income Eligible Vouchers

EEC will be closing voucher access to new income eligible families on February 4, 2011. New voucher access will also be closed to siblings of children currently receiving EEC financial assistance on February 4, 2011. At this time, EEC can continue to support continuity of care 1 through vouchers for children who are already receiving EEC financial assistance. Families seeking continuity of care for children that cannot be placed in a provider's contracted slot or flex pool (as discussed below) shall be referred to their local CCR&R for a voucher and shall be issued a voucher consistent with current policies. 2

Access to Contracted Slots and the Income Eligible Flex Pool

Effective February 4, 2011, access to vacant contracted slots must be prioritized for families in need of continuity of care for children currently receiving EEC financial assistance, and for siblings of enrolled children. Providers must place all families seeking continuity of care or sibling access prior to placing a general priority family from the wait list.

If a child requires continuity of care or sibling access, the contracted provider shall first seek an available contract slot. If none are available, the provider may use their flex pool for sibling and continuity of care access, up to their 5% allocation target.3 If the income eligible contract provider's flex pool utilization is above the 5% target, 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 should be referred to the CCR&R for a voucher. Please see above for voucher availability; please note that new vouchers are unavailable to siblings.

Access for DTA and DCF Families

Immediate access will remain open to families authorized by DTA and DCF. Continuity of care for DCF and DTA families will also remain open through income eligible vouchers and the flex pool. Please also note that DCF families whose cases close and are in need of continuity of care are excluded from the 5% rule, as EEC prioritizes at-risk families. Providers may continue to add those children to their flex pool without affecting their 5% flex pool allocation.

EEC recognizes the hardship families may experience due to these policies and will continue to carefully monitor caseload data across all accounts to seek to restore access to EEC financial assistance as soon as possible.


1"Continuity of care" refers to the continuation of EEC financial assistance services only for a child who already receives EEC financial assistance in the form of an EEC contract or voucher, provided that the child maintains EEC eligibility (e.g., children aging up or out of a program and children whose families are no longer eligible for an EEC priority populations contract slot, such as a homeless or teen parent slot). See Table 2.0.1 A of the EEC Financial Assistance Policy Guide.

2The CCR&R shall place the family back on the wait list with the appropriate continuity of care code and their original wait list date, and shall provide the family with immediate access to a voucher, provided the family is still eligible. Families seeking voucher access for siblings shall also be placed on the wait list using their original date, but will not receive immediate access to a voucher.

3Please note that providers are expected to manage to their 5% flex pool target, consistent with EMB FY2011-01. EEC will be increasing its monitoring and enforcement efforts, and will be monitoring flex pool utilization on a quarterly basis to determine if programs are meeting their 5% target, on average. If EEC determines that the 5% flex pool target allocation is being used in a way that is inconsistent with its intent, EEC reserves the right to disallow payment for children that were inappropriately placed in the flex pool.


Information provided by the Department of Early Education and Care. Created: January 5, 2011.