SS/SCS/SB 94 - This act modifies provisions relating to child care.
CHILD CARE SUBSIDIES
This act provides that the Children's Division within the Department of Social Services shall develop rules to become effective by July 1, 2010, modifying the income eligibility criteria for any person receiving state-funded child care assistance, either through vouchers or direct reimbursement to child care providers.
Eligible child care recipients under state law and regulation may pay a fee based on gross income and family size unit based on a child care sliding scale fee established by the Children's Division, which is subject to appropriations. However, a person receiving state-funded child care assistance whose income surpasses the annual appropriation level may continue to receive reduced subsidy benefits on a scale established by the Children's Division until such person's income reaches 45 percent above such annual appropriation level, at which time such person will have assumed the full cost of the maximum base child care subsidy benefits. "Annual appropriation level" is defined as the percentage of the federal poverty level for the applicable family size necessary to be eligible for the child care subsidy as determined by annual appropriation.
The sliding scale fee may be waived for children with special needs as established by the division. The maximum payment by the division shall be the applicable rate minus the applicable fee.
These provisions are similar to SCS/SB 776 (2008) and SCS/SB 260 and 71 (2007). (SECTION 208.046)
QUALITY RATING SYSTEM FOR CHILD CARE FACILITIES
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, 2009, 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, 2014, subject to appropriations, all licensed facilities receiving direct moneys or services must be rated under the system. The program shall be voluntary for other licensed facilities. 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, 2010. 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 Fund is established and administered by the Department of Social Services to provide grants to licensed providers to make quality improvements to comply with the rating system or to community-based organizations assisting providers with such improvements. The funds shall be administered by the department through contracts with non-governmental organizations, which will provide the quality improvement services of training and technical assistance directly to programs statewide and establish a quality improvement panel to review grant applications and determine funding. Grants must be awarded in a geographically diverse manner.
The Department of Social Services in collaboration with the Departments of Health and Senior Services, and Elementary and Secondary Education, and Mental Health 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, 2014, the ratings of the quality rating system shall be posted on the Missouri Child Care Resource and Referral Network web site.
This provision shall sunset in six years.
These provisions are similar to HB 387 (2009), and to provisions in HCS/SB 79 (2009),SS/SCS/SB 726 (2008) and SB 161 (2007). (SECTION 210.205)