HCS/SS/SCS/SB 726 - This act modifies provisions relating to child care facilities.
QUALITY RATING SYSTEM
This act requires the Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Senior Services, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Mental Health to develop by September 1, 2008, a quality rating system for early childhood and before-and after-school programs licensed by the Department of Health and Senior Services that operate in this state. The licensing of such facilities shall be the baseline, while the highest rating includes accreditation. The departments shall utilize the model from the existing Missouri quality rating system pilots developed by the University of Missouri Center for Family Policy and Research to establish the system. The system will allow consumers and parents to evaluate and select high quality programs and creates a system of accountability for policymakers and those who fund such programs.
By July 1, 2011, all licensed child care facilities voluntarily receiving quality improvement funds and services shall, upon the facilities' request, be rated using the quality rating system established under this act. The Coordinating Board of Early Childhood shall develop a plan for a tiered system of reimbursement for child care subsidies based on the quality rating system established under this act. The proposed plan shall be submitted to the General Assembly with recommendations for implementation of the reimbursement system by December 31, 2009. The plan shall only become effective upon passage of a concurrent resolution by the General Assembly authorizing the implementation of the plan.
The Quality Rating System Program Improvement Grant Fund is established and shall consist of all gifts, donations, transfers, moneys appropriated by the general assembly, and bequests to the fund. Money in the fund shall be used to provide grants directly to licensed providers seeking assistance for quality improvements to undergo evaluation under the quality rating system established under this act or to community-based organizations assisting providers with such improvements. The grants shall be awarded in such a manner to ensure geographic diversity among the grantees.
The Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Senior Services, and Elementary and Secondary Education shall be responsible for promoting and distributing materials to educate the public and providers about the quality rating system established under this act. By January 1, 2010, the ratings of the quality rating system shall be posted on the Internet in a format easily understood and accessible by the public.
The provisions relating to the quality rating system shall sunset in six years.
These provisions are similar to SB 161 (2007). SECTION 210.205
CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES
By July 1, 2012, the Children's Division within the Department of Social Services shall modify the income eligibility criteria for receiving financial assistance for child care by allowing families with an income below 160% of the federal poverty level to receive subsidy benefits, subject to appropriations. The benefits will be distributed on a sliding scale based on family size and income. The division may waive the sliding scale fee for children with special needs and may establish procedures to assist families with incomes of more than 160% of the federal poverty level in transitioning off of state assistance. If annual appropriations are not sufficient to cover all eligible families, the division may establish a waiting list and rules for the prioritizing of eligible recipients on the waiting list. SECTION 208.046
This provision is similar to SB 1006 (2008).
This act also creates the Child Care and Development Fund which shall consist of moneys received from the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Program. Upon appropriation, moneys in the fund will be used by the department only within the guidelines of the federal program. Any moneys remaining in the fund at the end of the biennium will not revert to the General Revenue Fund. SECTION 1
NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
In addition, certain neighborhood youth development programs shall be exempt from state child care licensing requirements so long as the program meets specified standards and guidelines as prescribed in the act. SECTION 210.278
This provision is substantially similar to a provision in SCS/HB 1946 (2008).