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State system eases child care billing (new law)

Published (5/29/2009)
By Kris Berggren
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A new law will help child care providers who participate in the basic sliding fee program to manage billing and payment through a new automated system administered by the Department of Human Services.

Basic sliding fee child care assistance is highly valued by working parents who may apply if they earn less than 47 percent of the state’s median income and remain eligible until earning up to 67 percent of the state’s median income. For example, a three-person household with $32,167 of annual income could apply, and then remain on the program until they earn $45,855.

The law, sponsored by Rep. Diane Loeffler (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (DFL-Mpls), makes several other technical changes and clarifications to existing law.

A change to eligibility requirements for school readiness service agreements will allow children to keep attending high-quality child care programs even if their parents’ work or other authorized activities dip below a 35-hour a week requirement during the first year. “The idea is to keep children in care on a continuous basis as long as possible to help improve the outcome for those kids,” said Cherie Kotilinek, child care assistance program manager with the department. Child care providers in the SRSA program receive a higher rate of reimbursement for providing certain early learning services.

The law also directs the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care to create an inventory of early childhood services. The inventory will identify programs serving children and their families by geographic and demographic characteristics, and numbers served plus those eligible who are not served.

Other provisions allow the commissioner to charge for development and operating costs of county-initiated projects, such as those to facilitate more integrated services to clients and create more efficient county workflow.

Renewal of overpayment judgments for certain programs is allowed, which is expected to save county and court costs.

Foster care providers no longer need to be re-licensed as adult foster care providers in order to obtain funding for a disabled child who has turned age 18.


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