Childcare Providers: Frequently Asked Questions
CARES Act funding
On Oct. 19, 2020 DHHS announced they are issuing Round Two CARES Act Funding. Child Care Providers are wondering if they are eligible for any of these new CARES Act Funds. Here is what we know:
$2.5M is allocated for child care providers who are actively serving children on the state child care subsidy, (both licensed and license exempt). DHHS will be issuing $1,200 checks to these providers. There is no application, checks will be sent from DHHS to those actively serving children. Checks are expected to be sent mid-November.
There is a category for Small Businesses to apply for $12,000 on a first come first served basis. The website states: “Program Eligibility: Nebraska-owned for-profit businesses who are licensed for withholding as of October 1, 2020 are eligible to apply. Eligible Fund Uses: Businesses can use the Small Business Stabilization grant as working capital to pay for operational expenses, with the purpose of helping sustain the business during the economic downturn or preparing it to bounce back.”
Prior grants applied for and/or received DO NOT impact your eligibility for receipt of this round of funds.
More information is found at the links below.
Website Overview and Application: https://coronavirus.nebraska.gov/Programs&Grants
Link to an Overview of the CARES Act Funding (pay attention to Phase Two opportunities): https://coronavirus.nebraska.gov/Programs&Grants
Q: Currently Nebraska providers are unable to bill for subsidy if children are not in attendance, are there any changes being made to allow providers to bill for enrollment of children on child care subsidy instead of enrollment?
A: On April 15, 2020, Governor Pete Ricketts issued Executive Order 20-18, which addresses important financial supports for child care providers and working families throughout the state by temporarily adjusting how the state manages child care subsidy reimbursements.
Q: Where can I locate thermometers?
A: This is a difficult item to locate at this time, but here are a couple ideas generated in the state.
- Some communities are exploring businesses in their area that have 3-D printers to supply ear thermometer covers to child care providers. If you are aware of locations that have 3-D printers, you could approach them about their willingness to help. You would also need to provide a sample of the cover and a product number so the printer can make a cover that fit the thermometer model you have.
- Another idea that has been discussed is for parents to bring their thermometer with them to take the child’s temperature at drop off each morning until more thermometers can be accessed.
Q: My local grocery store has limits on grocery items that I need for my program (such as milk, bread, etc.) How can I purchase enough supplies with these limits?
A: The Nebraska Grocery Industry Association encourages child care providers to reach out to their local grocer to order supplies. Child care providers can order the items that they need for their program at least as week in advance and should plan for 2 weeks worth of supplies when ordering. This is for grocery specific items - and would not include cleaning supplies
Q: What resources are available to find formula in a community?
A: Similac has a store locator on their website that allows providers to find what stores in their area carry Similac formula.
Q: Where can I find cleaning supplies in my community? (Such as disinfectant, hand sanitizer, gloves, etc.)
A: This has been an issue for providers across the state, one route to accessing cleaning supplies may be to reach out to your local health department to see what processes they have in place.
Nebraska Health Departments Contact Info
Nebraska Health Departments Map
Q: How should providers work with parents, who were affected by COVID, to get payment?
A: This will be decided by each programs’ contract or agreement with the family. If a signed agreement states that the family agreed to pay regardless of attendance and the provider stayed open and available the entire time the child or children were absent, programs may have to negotiate with families if they are unable to pay. Possible options would be to accept a reduced amount, schedule a payment plan (where the bill is paid over several months) or the provider may need to send the family to collections to collect funds owed.
Q: What happens if staff that had to be furloughed after a program was closed take other jobs and programs are unable to maintain staff when opening back up?
A: Programs are encouraged to keep in close contact with their staff throughout the furlough. Offering frequent support, updates and encouragement will help staff members to feel valued and engaged with the program. If a staff member indicates they will not be returning, advertise right away for that position to assure that your staffing team is ready for the return of children to the program. Interviews can be done via video meetings and some online training can take place prior to the employee starting.
Q: What Grants and Loans are Available to Family Child Care Providers?
A: Unemployment Benefits - Questions and Answers About Unemployment Benefits for Family Child Care Providers (Tom Copeland)
Paycheck Protection Program - PPP: What Child Care Programs need to know (NAEYC)
Q: Is there any guidance on if / when I should close my business?
Information Sharing / Child Care Referral Website
Q: Will there be a place for parents to access information about where child care is available?
A: The Child Care Referral Network is now live - allowing parents to find child care providers with current openings.
Q: What are the search capabilities of the website?
A: Current search fields:
- Open/closed status
- Name of Program
- Acceptance of subsidy
- Participation in Step Up to Quality
- Bilingual (Spanish) Capabilities
- Special needs care capabilities
Q: I am a child care provider and my information is listed as “no info” or is incorrect on the website, how do I update that?
A: Register on the provider portal to update information about your licensed child care home/center directly on the website. You can change the number of slots you have by age group, your displayed contact information, and add an email address and website where parents can find you. Go to: www.nechildcarereferral.org/register.
Q: Is the child care referral website available in Spanish?
A: Yes! To translate the website to Spanish, go to www.nechildcarereferral.org and click on the icon that looks like a globe in the top right hand corner.
Q: What procedures do I follow if a child attending my child care program tests positive for COVID-19?
A: The child care regulations in Title 391 of the Nebraska Administrative Code (NAC) require that providers follow all directives given to the licensee by a health authority in the event of a communicable disease outbreak (this includes COVID-19). Under Nebraska law, the local health department is the “health authority.” The health department will advise on steps that need to be taken inclusive of notification of the parents of other children who attend the program.
Q: What guidance is available on how to protect my business in the event a child in my program tests positive for COVID-19?
A: This article provides guidance to childcare owners on business liability insurance versus liability waiver forms: http://tomcopelandblog.com/does-a-liability-waiver-protect-you-if-a-child-gets-covid-19
Q: Will recently hired child care workers be required to adhere to the finger printing requirements?
A: Fingerprinting is still required for LICENSED programs. The Executive Order has temporarily suspended the fingerprinting requirement for temporary child care providers, but background checks will still be required.
Q: If staff had to be laid off temporarily and are now on unemployment, will they have to be considered “new hires” when they are able to come back to work? Will they have to re-do the fingerprinting process?
A: Childcare staff who were laid off temporarily will be eligible for re-hire without being fingerprinted if they have been away from child care for less than 180 days. If their CPR card has not expired, staff will not have to be re-trained.
Q: Will there be extensions for annual trainings and certifications (such as CPR, First Aid certifications, etc.) if there are no classes offered in my area?
A: Local community partners (such as NDE, ESUs, and DHHS) have been working to connect providers with trainers offering online/in person hybrid courses during the pandemic. Your local ESU or your local Early Learning Connection Coordinator can assist you in finding a course that meets a training need. If you are unable to attend a required course during this time, reach out to your assigned Child Care Inspection Specialist so they will be able to document that this gap in training is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: How do the limitations on the number of people who can gather in a space effect Family Child Care Home providers? Would my own children count towards the person limit? Does this only apply to those of certain ages?
A: All counties in Nebraska are currently under Directed Health Measures. Some counties require that there be no more than “10 customers (children), excluding staff, in a single room or single space at the same time.” Some counties allow up to 15 children, please contact your local public health authority if there are questions about your county’s requirement. These limits include Family Child Care Home Providers. Additionally, all regular licensing standards regarding number of children per age group are still in effect.
It is recommended that household members age 8 and older be in separate areas of the home from the children under 8 years of age requiring care. If your children are at home from school, those that are 8 years of age or younger will count in both the Directed Health Measure child limit and in your Family Child Care Home I or II staff-to-child ratio.
Q: How can Head Start centers help during the crisis?
A: Head Start Programs may lease out their facilities or they may allow staff to work for wages or volunteer in other child care programs. Read more here from Administration for Children and Families, Office of Head Start.
Q: Are child care providers recognized as “essential personnel” or an “essential business”?
A: We have not come across any official guidance, directive, or list that has come out from government explicitly deeming who is “essential” that are in non-governmental roles.