Increases child care provider payments and revises hourly limits on child care for school-aged children under subsidized child care assistance program during 2020-2021 school year.
Sponsored by: Assemblyman WAYNE P. DEANGELO District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex), Assemblywoman SHANIQUE SPEIGHT District 29 (Essex), Assemblyman DANIEL R. BENSON District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Co-Sponsored by: Assemblywomen Dunn and Reynolds-Jackson
This bill revises the subsidized child care assistance program reimbursement rate for participating licensed child care providers that enroll school-aged children during the 2020-2021 school year, and establishes limits on the number of hours of child care services provided to school-aged children enrolled on a “part-time” and “full-time” basis. Under the bill, providers that enroll school-aged children on a part-time basis would receive $28.90 per day for providing a maximum of six hours of care. Child care providers enrolling school-aged children on a full-time basis would be reimbursed $48.80 per day for providing between 6.25 and ten hours of care. In addition, this bill specifies that nothing in the bill should be construed as preventing the Division of Family Development in the Department of Human Services, which administers the subsidized child care assistance program, from paying providers a higher hourly subsidy rate for school-aged children. The bill’s requirements become effective upon enactment and expire on June 30, 2021.
The bill appropriates such amounts as necessary to implement these reimbursement changes to the subsidy program, but notes that the primary source of funding is to be federal funds allocated pursuant to the “Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990,” Pub.L. 101-508 (42 U.S.C. s.9857 et seq.), to the extent allowed under federal law. Any remaining funding needed to implement the bill’s provisions is to be appropriated from the General Fund. Finally, the bill stipulates that the Commissioner of Human Services is to apply for any State plan amendments or waivers required to ensure continued federal financial participation for the State’s subsidized child care assistance program.
Under current regulation (N.J.A.C. 10:15-3.3 and N.J.A.C. 10:15-10.1), the subsidized child care assistance program limits payment for services provided to school-aged children to three hours during the school year, permitting these providers to offer before- and after school services to school-aged children. Only during the summer months, as well as recognized holidays and vacations during the school year, are providers paid based for a full day of care for school-aged children. Licensed child care providers receive a daily subsidy rate of $14.65 for school-aged children enrolled on a part-time basis during the academic year, and $29.30 for those school-aged children enrolled in full-time care.
To comply with federal and State public health guidelines during the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, many New Jersey school districts plan to have some combination of hybrid and remote instruction during the 2020-2021 school year, while other districts plan to provide only remote instruction. In general, the number of hours that a child will be physically present in school will likely be limited to three or four hours per day for two or three days per week. In light of these circumstances, many working parents will need more than the currently-subsidized three hours of care per day for their school-aged children. Based on current projections, most children will spend five or six hours in child care on days they attend school in-person. At the current subsidy rate of $14.65 per day for a school-aged child enrolled in child care on a part-time basis, a provider would earn $2.93 per hour for five hours of care and $2.44 per hour for six hours of care provided on days the child’s school offers hybrid instruction. A child attending school virtually will typically spend anywhere from eight to ten hours in a child care setting. Based on the current full-time child care subsidy rate of $29.30 per day for a school-aged child, a provider would earn $3.66 per hour for eight hours of care and $2.93 per hour for ten hours of care provided to a school-aged child on days the child attends school virtually from the child care facility.
It is the intent of the bill’s sponsor to ensure that child care providers that participate in the State’s subsidized child care assistance program are fairly and adequately reimbursed for the hours of essential child care services they provide to school-aged children during the 2020-2021 school year.