43.216.136  <<  43.216.1365 >>   43.216.137

Working connections child care programEligibility. (Effective January 1, 2021.)

(1) The department shall establish and implement policies in the working connections child care program to promote stability and quality of care for children from low-income households. These policies shall focus on supporting school readiness for young learners. Policies for the expenditure of funds constituting the working connections child care program must be consistent with the outcome measures established by the department and the standards established in this section intended to promote stability, quality, and continuity of early care and education programming.
(2) As recommended by P.L. 113-186, authorizations for the working connections child care subsidy are effective for twelve months.
(a) A household's twelve-month authorization must begin on the date that child care is expected to begin.
(b) If a newly eligible household does not begin care within twelve months of being determined eligible by the department, the household must reapply in order to qualify for subsidy.
(3)(a) The department shall establish and implement policies in the working connections child care program to allow eligibility for families with children who:
(i) In the last six months have:
(A) Received child protective services as defined and used by chapters 26.44 and 74.13 RCW;
(B) Received child welfare services as defined and used by chapter 74.13 RCW; or
(C) Received services through a family assessment response as defined and used by chapter 26.44 RCW;
(ii) Have been referred for child care as part of the family's case management as defined by RCW 74.13.020; and
(iii) Are residing with a biological parent or guardian.
(b) Families who are eligible for working connections child care pursuant to this subsection do not have to keep receiving services identified in this subsection to maintain twelve-month authorization.
(4)(a) Beginning August 1, 2020, the department may not require an applicant or consumer to meet work requirements as a condition of receiving working connections child care benefits when the applicant or consumer is:
(i) A single parent;
(ii) A full-time student of a community, technical, or tribal college; and
(iii) Pursuing vocational education that leads to a degree or certificate in a specific occupation, not to result in a bachelor's or advanced degree.
(b) An applicant or consumer is a full-time student for the purposes of this subsection if he or she meets the college's definition of a full-time student. The student must maintain passing grades and be in good standing pursuant to college attendance requirements.
(c) Nothing in this subsection is intended to change how applicants or consumers are prioritized when applicants or consumers are placed on a waitlist for working connections child care benefits.
(5) For purposes of this section, "authorization" means a transaction created by the department that allows a child care provider to claim payment for care. The department may adjust an authorization based on a household's eligibility status.

NOTES:

FindingsIntent2020 c 355: "The legislature finds that the federal child care and development block grant act of 2014 reauthorized the child care and development fund program and established a minimum twelve-month eligibility period for subsidized child care in order to provide families with more stability and to support the continuity of care between children and providers. The legislature further finds that the state's policy of authorizing twelve months of uninterrupted care was affirmed by the passage of the state's early start act in 2015. However, some families are not able to access child care right away through the working connections child care program due to factors beyond their control. These barriers to care include challenges with access to child care in rural areas, declining numbers of providers accepting state subsidy, and the persistence of child care deserts in which either no child care providers are in operation or there are so few options for child care that the demand outweighs available slots. Therefore, the legislature intends to clarify the state's policy that all eligible children may receive at least a full twelve months of working connections child care." [ 2020 c 355 § 1.]
Effective date2020 c 355: "This act takes effect January 1, 2021." [ 2020 c 355 § 5.]
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