Individualized County of Santa Clara Child Care Subsidy Plan
(a) For purposes of this article, "plan" means an individualized county child care subsidy plan developed and approved under the pilot project described in Section 8332, which includes all of the following:
(1) An assessment to identify the county's goals for its subsidized child care system. The assessment shall examine whether the current structure of subsidized child care funding adequately supports working families in the county and whether the county's child care goals coincide with the state's requirements for funding, eligibility, priority, and reimbursement. The assessment shall also identify barriers in the state's child care subsidy system that inhibit the county from meeting its child care goals. In conducting the assessment, the county shall consider all of the following:
(A) Needs assessment data collected pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8499.5.
(B) Data collected by resource and referral agencies pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (3) of subdivision (a) of Section 8212.
(C) The county's self-sufficiency income level.
(D) The cost of providing child care.
(2) (A) Development of a local policy to eliminate state-imposed regulatory barriers to the county's achievement of its desired outcomes for subsidized child care.
(B) The local policy shall do all of the following:
(i) Prioritize lowest income families first.
(ii) Follow the family fee schedule established pursuant to Section 8273 for those families who are income eligible, as defined by Section 8263.1, and provide the exemptions for family fees specified in Section 8273.1.
(iii) Meet local goals that are consistent with the state's child care goals.
(iv) Identify existing policies that would be affected by the county's plan.
(v) (I) Authorize an agency that provides child care and development services in the county through a contract with the department to apply to the department to amend existing contracts in order to benefit from the local policy.
(II) The department shall approve an application to amend an existing contract if the plan or modification of the plan is approved pursuant to Section 8332.3.
(III) The contract of a department contractor who does not elect to request an amendment to its contract remains operative and enforceable.
(vi) Provide a family that qualifies for the second or third stage of child care services pursuant to Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350), for purposes of eligibility, fees, and reimbursements, the same or higher level of benefit as a family that qualifies for subsidized child care on another basis pursuant to the local policy, except as otherwise provided in Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350). Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to impact or reduce any element in the second or third stage of child care services pursuant to Article 15.5 (commencing with Section 8350) that provides a greater benefit to participating families than is provided for in the local policy.
(C) The local policy may supersede state law concerning child care subsidy programs with regard only to the following factors:
(i) Eligibility criteria, including, but not limited to, age, family size, time limits, income level, and special needs considerations.
(ii) Fees, including, but not limited to, family fees, sliding scale fees, and copayments for those families who are not income eligible, as defined by Section 8263.1.
(iii) Reimbursement rates, including adjustment factors identified in Section 8265.5.
(iv) Methods of maximizing the efficient use of subsidy funds, including, but not limited to, multiyear contracting with the department for center-based child care, and interagency agreements that allow for flexible and temporary transfer of funds among agencies.
(v) Families with children enrolled in part-day California state preschool program services, pursuant to Article 7 (commencing with Section 8235), may be eligible for up to two 180-day periods within a 24-month period without the family being certified as a new enrollment each year.
(vi) The ratio of four-year-old children in state preschool programs pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 8236.
(3) Recognition that all funding sources utilized by contractors that provide child care and development services in the county are eligible to be included in the county's plan.
(4) Establishment of measurable outcomes to evaluate the success of the plan to achieve the county's child care goals, and to overcome any barriers identified in the state's child care subsidy system.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the county to change the regional market rate survey results for the county.
(c) Nothing in this section shall allow a county to adopt as part of its pilot project an increase to the regional market reimbursement rate beyond the level provided in the annual Budget Act.
(d) A plan may include stage one child care services in addition to alternative payment and direct service child care programs. If the plan includes CalWORKs child care, pilot administrators shall consult with their county welfare department to identify opportunities for alignment, ensuring families experience no break in their child care services due to a transition between the three stages of child care services and policies implemented in the pilot project.
(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 7, Sec. 5.)