Information about COVID-19 for CCDF Lead Agencies: Relevant Flexibilities in CCDF Law
Coronavirus Prevention and Response
The Office of Child Care (OCC) recognizes that State, Territory and Tribal CCDF Lead Agencies are concerned about the impact the coronavirus may have on their programs and other programs they work with. Child care providers should take steps to prevent the introduction and spread of coronavirus among their staff, children, and families. Through collaboration and coordination with local health departments, programs can take steps to disseminate information about the disease and its potential transmission. In addition, CCDF Lead Agencies can adopt subsidy policies that promote continuity of child care services to impacted children and families, and that maintain support for child care businesses during closures or other disrupters.
There is more to learn about its transmission, severity, and other features, as well as what may happen in the United States. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides up-to-date information about prevention, symptoms, testing, and the current situation. They also offer guidance Visit disclaimer page to help administrators of public and private child care programs and K—12 schools prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff.
The Office of Child Care (OCC) is directing State, Territory, and Tribal Lead Agencies to an Information Memorandum (IM) published in 2017 that is helpful to answer questions regarding how they may use flexibilities and waivers in the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program to address the impact of the coronavirus:
- Flexibility in Spending CCDF Funds in Response to Federal or State Declared Emergency Situations (CCDF-ACF-IM-2017-02)
Options available to State, Territory, and Tribal Lead Agencies include:
- Lead Agencies have the flexibility to change eligibility or priority criteria to permit uninterrupted child care.
- Lead Agencies have the flexibility to define income and set the income threshold for purposes of CCDF eligibility.
- Lead Agencies have the option to waive family co-payment requirements for families that meet criteria established by the Lead Agency—which may include, for example, families impacted by federal or state declared emergency situations.
- Lead Agencies may use quality dollars to provide immediate assistance to impacted families, including families that do not participate in CCDF.
In some cases, states may need to enact state legislation or regulation in order to take advantage of these flexibilities. They also may need to submit a Plan amendment or waiver request to OCC. Please contact OCC regional staff for guidance.
CCDF Frequently Asked Questions in Response to COVID-19
OCC has developed a frequently asked questions resource guide in response to COVID-19 questions received so far. OCC has posted the FAQ guide on the OCC website and will update it on a rolling basis as new questions come in.
CCDF Lead Agencies Preparedness Planning
We recommend Lead Agencies follow public health guidelines from their local health departments and the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) to prepare for a pandemic outbreak. Consider using resources such as:
- Child Care and Preschool Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist Visit disclaimer page
- Preparing Child Care Programs for Pandemic Influenza Visit disclaimer page
What Programs in Communities with Identified Coronavirus Should Know
Lead Agencies and their child care programs should work in close collaboration and coordination with local health officials. If an ill child or staff member attended the program prior to being confirmed as a coronavirus case, local health officials may:
- Recommend temporary dismissals
- Provide guidance to determine when children and child care staff should return to the program and what additional steps are needed