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Monday, April 6, 2020

California Expands Access to Child Care for Essential Workers During COVID-19


On April 4, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order to provide expanded access to child care for essential workers during the COVID-19 response. It allows the state to waive certain programmatic and administrative requirements in response to the pandemic. The waiver will focus on current eligibility and enrollment criteria that prevent child care and after school programs from serving children of essential infrastructure, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement and grocery store workers.

Child care programs across the state impacted by COVID-19 have been restricted from serving children of these essential infrastructure workers until this order. The California code has been suspended for a period of 60 days.

The order further states that the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) are required to develop and issue guidance to prioritize the enrollment of children of essential critical infrastructure workers. This guidance is to be developed by April 7, 2020. Along with this guidance, the CDE and CDSS are to issue guidance regarding group size, physical distancing, food safety and other practices that are also in line with current federal, state and local health guidance related to COVID-19.

The order also allows the state of California to take advantage of a new federal flexibility to provide a pandemic-related Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to children. The CDE and CDSS will work together to identify children eligible for the SNAP benefit to provide meals at low or no cost.

The CDE may waive any of the reporting, auditing, or other requirements specified in Education Code section 8482.3(f) for the period covered by this suspension.

We imagine that as the CDE and CDSS launch the program this week, we will hear more about the impact to child care providers, of which many are our nonprofit communities, and the potential impact on funding to providers.

For the latest regulatory updates and more information on keeping your organization running through disruption, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

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