Supportive Child Care Subsidy Policy Statement
Number: P-EEC-Supportive-18

As discussed in greater detail below, Supportive Child Care providers may request Supportive Flex Pool funding for the following purposes:

  • to help providers serve children transferring between Supportive Child Care programs when the provider's own Supportive Child Care contracted slots are full;
  • to serve children providers would not otherwise be able to accommodate because the children have emotional, mental, or physical disabilities;
  • to support a clinician who, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership, will provide on-site clinical services to children and families in programs prioritized by EEC for such services;
  • to accommodate a DSS Area Department which has allowed another area to borrow slots previously unutilized;
  • to accommodate a DSS Area Department when supportive contract slots have been reduced due to contract under-utilization; or
  • to accommodate a DSS Area Department when a licensing action has curtailed other resources.

Approval of requests for Supportive Flex Pool funding is based on funding availability.

Continuity of Care within Supportive Child Care Programs

Use of the flex pool to accommodate children transferring between Supportive Child Care programs may only be sought as a last resort, and must be accompanied by an explanation of why normal transition planning failed. Supportive Flex Pool funding will not be used to replace efforts by DSS and the provider to plan for the age-appropriate transition of children from one Supportive Child Care provider to another well in advance of their planned date of transition. Providers may request access to Supportive Flex Pool funding for continuity of care reasons when:

  • the current provider does not have a contract or authorization to serve the child in the program the child is aging into, and the program to which the child is being transferred has no vacant supportive slots; (Note: When a child transfers between Supportive Child Care programs at the same agency and no vacancy exists, access to flex pool funding is not necessary, because the child's current slot will convert to the new program type for the duration of the time the child is enrolled.)
  • children must transfer between Supportive Child Care providers due to geographic re-location (e.g. the family moves); or
  • children return to a Supportive Child Care program following an extended medical absence or other absence approved by DSS.

Supportive Flex Pool funding should be used as a temporary funding source. Once a child is enrolled in care through Supportive Flex Pool funding to support continuity of care the child must be transferred to the first available vacancy in the Supportive Child Care provider's contract.

Children with Disabilities

Eligible children who have emotional, mental, or physical disabilities and cannot attend Supportive Child Care without specific program accommodations may be eligible for special needs funding from the Supportive Flex Pool. Such funding may be used to support additional training or consultation for program staff, technical assistance to meet the needs of a specific child, or to enhance staffing ratios to integrate or maintain a specific child into a program. For instance, a consultant may be hired to support the classroom by lowering the teacher to child ratio, to assist the teacher with other children, and to help in the classroom when the teacher needs to work "one on one" with a particular child.

Supportive Child Care programs are funded in their current contracts for case management and social services and are expected to link with mental health services, early intervention services and other third party insurers to better meet the therapeutic and mental health needs of children enrolled. Therefore, any request for additional funding through the Supportive Flex Pool must include an explanation why the requested services are needed, and how the requested services exceed the level of services required by the contract.

Mental Health Clinician Services

In collaboration with the Department of Medical Assistance and the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP), EEC will provide funding for an on-site clinician to programs prioritized by EEC for mental health services. Programs prioritized by EEC will submit to EEC for approval a proposal documenting service needs, staff costs and the services to be provided. The proposal will identify services that may be billed to MBHP, and services that may be reimbursed by EEC.

Services that may be billed to MBHP include 1:

  • consultation with family members or other clinicians;
  • diagnostic evaluations;
  • medication evaluation, prescription, review or monitoring;
  • medication administration;
  • couples/family therapy;
  • group therapy;
  • individual therapy;
  • comprehensive child and adolescent assessment protocol;
  • collateral contacts.

Services that may be reimbursed by EEC include:

  • training and education for child care staff regarding behavioral interventions with children and building alliances with and supporting families;
  • home visiting to families of children in care for case management and referral services;
  • transportation of children and families to fulfill the requirements of the family's service plan; and
  • consultation services that exceed the limits of those billable to MBHP.

To Accommodate A DSS Area Department Which Has Allowed Another Area to Borrow Unused Slots

A DSS area Department (the lending area) may agree to lend another area Department (the borrowing area) one or more of its Supportive Child Care slots to accommodate the other area Department's waitlist, if those slots have consistently not been used by the area to which they are contracted, and the contracted area has no referrals pending. The borrowing area may keep the slots until the children enrolled terminate from Supportive Child Care. At that time, the borrowed slots revert to the lending area.

If the lending area needs to use the slots to accommodate its own waitlist while children from the borrowing area remain in placement, after consultation with EEC a Supportive Child Care provider may be authorized by the lending DSS area Department to request Supportive Flex Pool funding for a number of slots up to the number loaned. When the loaned slots revert to the lending area, children in the flex pool slots must be moved to the contracted slots.

To Accommodate a DSS Area Department When A Licensing Action Has Curtailed Resources

When an EEC licensing action temporarily curtails resources within a Supportive Child Care program, the DSS Area Department affected by the action may request that EEC approve Supportive Flex Pool funding to accommodate a number of children at another Supportive Child Care program equal to the number of slots temporarily lost due to the licensing action. Supportive Child Care providers will not be reimbursed for slots that are unenrolled due to licensing actions. (See EEC policy P-EEC-Supportive-19: Reimbursement .)

1 All services listed are subject to the limitations imposed and defined by MBHP.

Information provided by the Department of Early Education and Care . Created: October 25, 2002; Last reviewed: October 25, 2002.