Current policy allows staff a good deal of flexibility when determining
the number of hours of child care needed to provide adequate support
to an eligible family. EES staff establish a reasonable estimate of the
hours needed for child care by determining with the parent the average
number of hours needed for child care during a one-week period. The weekly
number of hours is multiplied by 4.3 (average weeks in a month) to obtain
a reasonable estimate of the monthly hours to be authorized for payment.
Staff are allowed the flexibility to develop child care plans to maximize
the support needed to gain and/or maintain employment.
A maximum of 215 hours per month is a suggested guideline, but additional
hours may be authorized on a case-by-case basis with supervisory approval.
The supervisor's approval must be documented in the case file.
EES staff consider many factors when determining the scheduled hours.
One support that is allowed is sleep time for children who require overnight
care. This reference can be found in KEESM 7620 (4). This allows support
for the individual needs of the child. Child care may be provided when
a parent’s work schedule is such that the child’s normal
sleep pattern would be interrupted. In some situations however, authorizing
sleep time (in addition to the hours needed due to employment) for every
child results in large payments to providers who may not be providing
a level of oversight that warrants these payments for overnight care.
This particularly applies to unregulated care (In-Home and Out of Home
Relative) where the provider does not remain awake at all times children
are in care or may not have sleep interrupted often to care for children
The level of care given in overnight situations may not be as vigilant
as care given during the day. Therefore, staff should use the following
guidelines when discussing plan authorization with the parent/provider
when overnight care is provided by an unregulated caregiver. Some general
guidelines for staff are as follows:
- If sleep time/overnight care is needed for a single child
in care, it should be authorized.
- Workers should always authorize sleep time/overnight care
hours on plans where there are infants (12 mos or younger) involved
not sleep through the night or children with special needs who may
require extra attention during the night.
- In cases with more than one child in care (none are infants
or special needs children), workers should authorize the additional sleep
time for only one child in the family. This action would result in a
lower payment rate to the provider for care given while children are
sleeping. Workers should authorize the sleep hours on the youngest child(ren)’s
- Workers should address situations where children are in child
care for excessive hours weekly as this does not promote good parent-child
relationship building. Parents should be referred to the local Child
Care Resource and Referral Agency if they would like information
on positive parent-child relationships. Where resources are available,
be provided with assistance in securing employment that would not
require them to be away from their children for long periods of time.
- Regulated caregivers are required to be awake while children
are in care so full payment for overnight care provided is allowable.
If staff are questioning a situation, they are encouraged to investigate
the arrangement further. EES staff are encouraged to review questionable
situations locally with a supervisor or higher authority. Central Office
staff may also be consulted if needed.