Westchester DSS sought and received approval for a number of key waivers to its Child and Family Services Plan that will be a tremendous help to both programs/providers and families:
Payment for Absences:
Can pay for all child absences due to COVID-19 for 30 days beginning March 7, 2020. The waiver applies to both contracted and non-contracted programs including Day Care Centers, Group Family Day Care, Family Day Care, Legally-Exempt Group Programs and School Age Child Care. Programs must be open for a child to be absent. Legally-exempt family child care and in-home child care providers are not eligible to receive these payments for absences.
Can pay for all program closure days due to COVID-19 for 30 days beginning March 7, 2020. The waiver applies to both contract and non-contracted programs as listed above. Programs must notify their licensing agency (OCFS or CCCW) of their closure. Legally-exempt family child care and in-home child care providers are not eligible to receive these payments for closures.
Will extend all Child Care Subsidy eligibility determinations that are coming due for recertification for at least the next 30 days. All cases due to be recertified in March or April 2020 will be extended until May 2020.
Expanded Eligibility Standards:
Can now serve families with incomes up to 85% of the New York State Median Income in the Child Care Subsidy Program.
Will suspend all family share fees for families receiving child care assistance, beginning March 7, 2020 and through at least the next 30 days. This waiver applies to both contracted and non-contracted provider programs. If a program or provider has collected fees from families for this period, payments should be refunded to families or their accounts should be credited accordingly.
Child care services can be provided to families that need such services for a child to be protected because a parent is unavailable to care for the child/ren as a result of being quarantined due to exposure to COVID-19.
We thank DSS Commissioner Kevin McGuire, First Deputy John Befus, the Subsidy Program team, and the office of County Executive George Latimer for sending this critical assistance to the Westchester child care community and the children and working parents that they serve!