State bolsters childcare during pandemic

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State bolsters childcare during pandemic

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 01:58
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JEFFERSON CITY – The departments of Health and Senior Services and Social Services have taken regulatory action to assist childcare providers and families during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Parents who are looking for childcare can call 1-866-

Parents who are looking for childcare can call 1-866- 892-3228 to speak with a referral specialist. They can also access these services online at https://www.

Child Care Subsidy benefit recipients who need additional child care hours or low-income families who want to apply for assistance with childcare costs are encouraged to reach out to the Family Support Division for help.

There is no cost to parents for these services.

“We recognize that child care is an essential component of fighting COVID-19,” DHSS Director Randall Williams said. “Health care and other emergency medical personnel must have appropriate arrangements for their children to ensure they can provide the health care and other essential services needed by our communities.”

The DHSS decided that, while schools are closed, licensed childcare providers may use the rules regarding emergency school closings. This allows licensed programs to accommodate enrolled school-age children who need care. The provider will be permitted to exceed the license capacity of the facility by 33% during this time.

The SCCR developed a process to allow for the temporary care of preschool and school-age children. Short-term licenses for a 45-day period are available. These licenses, which are renewable, will be based on an abbreviated inspection that focuses on key health and safety indicators. Additionally, the SCCR has loosened some regula

Additionally, the SCCR has loosened some regulations for licensed childcare providers to allow them to extend their hours of care, and eased administrative burdens related to recordkeeping requirements.

The DHSS utilized its statutory authority to develop this temporary opportunity.

“COVID-19 has created additional challenges for low-income Missourians who receive Child Care Subsidy benefits,” DSS Acting Director Jennifer Tidball said. “To ensure those childcare needs are met and children remain safe, the Department of Social Services is helping families and the childcare providers enrolled in the Child Care Subsidy program cope with the impact of COVID-19.”

The Department of Social Services has taken these actions:

• Child Care Subsidy program benefits are extended for 90 days;

• The Child Care Subsidy program can pay for additional hours of care for a child’s attendance due to school closure or the parent is required to work additional hours; and

• Child Care Subsidy provider application renewals are extended for 90 days.