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Office of Child Care Updates: Waiver Guidance and FY 2022–2024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint

Dear Colleagues:

We are pleased to announce two important updates from the Office of Child Care (OCC):

  1. New Waiver Requests and Renewals Guidance
  2. Federal Register Publication of the FY 20222024 State and Territory Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Plan Preprint
     
    1. New Waiver Requests and Renewals Guidance
    OCC recognizes that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused widespread disruptions to states’ and territories’ progress toward meeting the requirements in the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. This new document provides guidance to states, territories, and tribes for requesting new waivers or waiver renewals due to extraordinary circumstances based on ongoing COVID-19 pandemic uncertainties and challenges. The following table explains scenarios and deadlines for these requests and renewals, including the option to request time-limited waivers (of up to 1 year) related to the market rate survey, an Administration for Children and Families (ACF) preapproved alternative methodology, and/or the required narrow cost analysis. The full guidance can also be found on the OCC COVID-19 website.

Scenarios for Requesting Waivers

Deadline

Jurisdiction Applicable

Process

Background Check Waivers for Extraordinary Circumstances for States Granted Transitional Waivers Expiring on September 30, 2020

September 30, 2020

States (including DC)

Apply for a new waiver for extraordinary circumstances using an update to the ACF-118 system (Appendix A).

Waivers for Extraordinary Circumstances for Non-Compliant Requirements

September 30, 2020

States (including DC)

Submit a waiver request for extraordinary circumstances using the existing process.

Renewals for Current Waivers for Extraordinary Circumstances 

January 28, 2021

States, territories, and tribes

Submit a renewal request to the OCC Regional Office by email.

Waivers for Extraordinary Circumstances for FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Period Market Rate Survey, Alternative Methodology, and Narrow Cost Analysis

July 1, 2021

States and territories

Apply for a waiver by completing the applicable sections in the FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan.

 2. Federal Register Publication of the FY 2022–2024 State and Territory Child Care and Development Fund Plan Preprint

As of September 10, 2020, the 60-day public comment period has opened in the Federal Register for the draft FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint for states and territories. A copy of the draft FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint can be accessed via this Web link and on this Federal Register webpage.

This notice is required by the Paperwork Reduction Act, which requires federal agencies to request approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB)/Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) for any information collection that will ask the same question of 10 or more persons, including stakeholders. The process includes the publication of an initial Federal Register Notice (FRN) allowing 60 days for public comments on the initial CCDF Plan for information collection, the publication of a second FRN allowing 30 days for public comment on the final proposed information collection, and review and approval by OMB/OIRA. States, territories, and other interested parties have 60 days to make formal comments. The public comment period will end on November 10, 2020. Please refer to the Federal Register publication for instructions on how to submit comments.

Overview of FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint

The FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint has been refined, maintaining the eight-section structure of the FY 20192021 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint while identifying opportunities to streamline formatting and to support clear and concise lead agency responses. Areas of key refinements include removing any references to the “new law” and progress on unimplemented provisions, as all lead agencies were expected to demonstrate CCDF program compliance no later than October 1, 2018. For example, the subsection on comprehensive background checks no longer asks lead agencies to address milestones in their implementation of background checks. Instead, in the FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint, lead agencies will be asked to describe the procedures that a provider uses to request a background check and the procedures and policies that a lead agency follows to respond to and complete a background check.

To provide additional clarity, several formatting changes were also made. These changes include adding citations into the question introductions and reorganizing some questions and sections to improve text flow. A numbering protocol has been implemented to ensure easy response identification, and where appropriate, question responses are organized into tables to reduce the reporting burden. Finally, throughout the FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint, suggestions have been made to lead agencies on where the COVID-19 pandemic might be addressed in a response.

Support for CCDF Plan Development and Submission

OCC is committed to supporting lead agencies throughout their CCDF Plan development process. Based on feedback gathered through regional focus groups over the past few months, OCC will make the following resources available through your Regional Office:

  • Fillable Word document
  • A section-by-section summary of refinements in the FY 20222024 State and Territory CCDF Plan Preprint
  • A series of training opportunities to support lead agencies in the development of their plan.

We know this has been a challenging and uncertain time, and we hope that this guidance will offer some additional flexibility over the next year. Moreover, thanks to your hard work, the CCDF Plans will continue to serve as an important blueprint for implementing our commitment to improving the number of high-quality choices available to low-income families through the CCDF program. We appreciate your efforts in meeting the child care needs of eligible families and essential workers and in sustaining and stabilizing the child care market, and we look forward to our continued partnership.

Sincerely,
Shannon Christian
Director, OCC
Office of Child Care
Administration for Children and Families
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Mary E. Switzer Building, Fourth Floor, MS 4425
330 C Street, S.W.
Washington, DC  20201
General office number: (202) 690-6782
Fax: (202) 690-5600
General email: occ@acf.hhs.gov
Website: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/occ

 

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