WSR 10-18-064

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

EARLY LEARNING

[ Filed August 30, 2010, 11:09 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 10-03-033.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Chapter 170-290 WAC, Working connections and seasonal child care programs, amending WAC 170-290-0005, 170-290-0075, 170-290-0085, 170-290-3520, and 170-290-3640.

Hearing Location(s): 1. Southwest Washington Educational Services District 112, 2500 N.E. 65th Avenue, Vancouver, 98661-6812, on Thursday, October 7, 2010, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

You may join this hearing at any time from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Those who cannot join this hearing in person may participate live at the following locations by video conference at Educational Services District 123, 3918 West Court Street, Blue Mountain Room, Pasco, 99301; and Puget Sound Educational Services District 121, 800 Oakesdale Avenue S.W., Puyallup Room, Renton, 98057-5221.

2. Yakima Valley Community College, Parker Room, South 16th Avenue and Nob Hill Boulevard, Yakima, WA 98902, on Saturday, October 9, 2010, 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Everyone who comments on the proposed rules, either in writing or at a public hearing, will receive the department's combined written response, called a concise explanatory statement. This statement is also available to anyone who requests it, by contacting the department of early learning (DEL) rules coordinator at the address above, or by e-mailing Rules@del.wa.gov.

Date of Intended Adoption: After October 11, 2010.

Submit Written Comments to: DEL Rules Coordinator, P.O. Box 40970, Olympia, WA 98504-0970, DEL on-line comment web site https://apps.del.wa.gov/PolicyProposalComment/Detail.aspx, e-mail Rules@del.wa.gov, fax (360) 725-4939, by 11:59 p.m., October 10, 2010.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Andy Fernando, rules coordinator, by October 1, 2010.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: The department is revising rules regarding the family income limit to be eligible for state-paid child care subsidy assistance under the working connections child care (WCCC) and seasonal child care (SCC) programs. The "countable" income limit is being reduced to one hundred seventy-five percent of the federal poverty guideline (FPG). The current limit is two hundred percent of the FPG. This means families with countable income above one hundred seventy-five percent up to two hundred percent of FPG will no longer be eligible for the WCCC or SCC subsidy programs.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: On August 12, 2010, Governor Gregoire announced various measures that Washington state must take to help meet an anticipated shortfall of more than $51 million in the "WorkFirst" fiscal 2011 budget period ending June 30, 2011. Several state agencies have been directed to reduce WorkFirst expenditures. To save an estimated $14,780,000 of the total shortfall, DEL has been directed to change the countable income limit for WCCC and SCC eligibility to one hundred seventy-five percent of the FPGs. At one hundred seventy-five percent of the FPG, a family of three would need [to] have countable income of less than $2,670 per month to qualify for WCCC or SCC.

Currently, more than thirty-five thousand families in Washington state receive WCCC or SCC subsidy assistance each month. Under the proposed rules, about two thousand five hundred families may lose WCCC or SCC benefits. The proposed change would be phased in as each family receiving WCCC or SCC reaches the end [of] their current eligibility period. When the family reapplies for benefits, WCCC or SCC eligibility will be based on their current countable family income.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 43.215.060 and 43.215.070; chapter 43.215 RCW.

Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 43.215 RCW.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Agency Comments or Recommendations, if any, as to Statutory Language, Implementation, Enforcement, and Fiscal Matters: Under section 501 (uncodified), chapter 265, Laws of 2006, DEL and DSHS jointly operate the WCCC program. DEL is responsible for WCCC policy making and adopting rules for the program. DSHS staff accept WCCC applications, determine family eligibility, and process payments to child care providers who care for children who receive WCCC subsidized care.

DEL implements the SCC program, in part through contracts with local community organizations throughout the state. These contractors accept SCC applications from families and determine each family's SCC eligibility using the rules in Part III of chapter 170-290 WAC.

Both the WCCC and SCC programs help pay for child care for eligible families while the parents work or attend training, education or other approved activities.

Name of Proponent: DEL, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Mark Rosen, DEL, Lacey, Washington, (360) 725-4665; Implementation: DSHS field offices and call centers and seasonal child care contractors, statewide; and Enforcement: DSHS field offices, statewide.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rules are likely [to] result in reduced income for some child care providers who provide care for children of families who would lose WCCC or SCC eligibility subsidies under the proposed rules. However, the proposed rules do not impose a compliance requirement on small child care businesses nor any reporting or record-keeping requirement. Preparation of a small business economic impact statement is not required.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. DEL is not listed among the state agencies required to comply with RCW 34.05.328.

August 25, 2010

Elizabeth M. Hyde

Director

OTS-3586.2


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-22-043, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09)

WAC 170-290-0005   Consumers.   (1) In WCCC, an eligible consumer has parental control of one or more children, lives in the state of Washington, and is the child's:

(a) Parent, either biological or adopted;

(b) Stepparent;

(c) Legal guardian verified by a legal or court document;

(d) Adult sibling or step-sibling;

(e) Nephew or niece;

(f) Aunt;

(g) Uncle;

(h) Grandparent; or

(i) Any of the relatives in (f), (g), or (h) of this subsection with the prefix great (for example, great-aunt).

(2) Consumers may be eligible for WCCC benefits if they:

(a) Meet eligibility requirements for WCCC described under part II of this chapter;

(b) Participate in an approved activity under WAC 170-290-0040, 170-290-0045, 170-290-0050, or have been approved per WAC 170-290-0055;

(c) Comply with any special circumstances that might affect WCCC eligibility under WAC 170-290-0020; and

(d) Have countable income at or below ((two hundred percent of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) (under WAC 170-290-0065))) one hundred seventy-five percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

(3) A consumer is not eligible for WCCC benefits when he or she:

(a) Is the only parent in the family and will be away from the home for more than thirty days in a row; or

(b) Has a monthly copayment that is higher than the rate the state will pay for all eligible children in care.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.060, 43.215.070, 2006 c 265, and chapter 43.215 RCW. 09-22-043, 170-290-0005, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09. 08-08-047, recodified as 170-290-0005, filed 3/27/08, effective 3/27/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.12.340, 74.13.085, and 2003 1st sp.s. c 25. 04-08-021 and 04-08-134, 388-290-0005, filed 3/29/04 and 4/7/04, effective 5/28/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and C.F.R. Parts 98 and 99 (Child Care Development Fund Rules). 02-01-135, 388-290-0005, filed 12/19/01, effective 1/19/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-22-043, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09)

WAC 170-290-0075   Determining income eligibility and copayment amounts.   (1) DSHS takes the following steps to determine a consumer's eligibility and copayment:

(a) Determine the consumer's family size (under WAC 170-290-0015); and

(b) Determine the consumer's countable income (under WAC 170-290-0065).

(2) If the consumer's family's countable monthly income falls within the range below, then his or her copayment is:


IF A CONSUMER'S INCOME IS: THEN THE CONSUMER'S COPAYMENT IS:
(a) At or below 82% of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG) $15
(b) Above 82% of the FPG up to 137.5% of the FPG $50
(c) Above 137.5% of the FPG through ((200)) 175% of the FPG The dollar amount equal to subtracting 137.5% of FPG from countable income, multiplying by 44%, then adding $50
(d) Above ((200)) 175% of the FPG, a consumer is not eligible for WCCC benefits.

(3) DSHS does not prorate the copayment when a consumer uses care for part of a month.

(4) The FPG is updated every year on April 1. The WCCC eligibility level is updated at the same time every year to remain current with the FPG.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.060, 43.215.070, 2006 c 265, and chapter 43.215 RCW. 09-22-043, 170-290-0075, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09. 08-08-047, recodified as 170-290-0075, filed 3/27/08, effective 3/27/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.12.340, 74.13.085, and 2003 1st sp.s. c 25. 04-08-021 and 04-08-134, 388-290-0075, filed 3/29/04 and 4/7/04, effective 5/28/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.13.085. 02-14-067, 388-290-0075, filed 6/27/02, effective 8/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and C.F.R. Parts 98 and 99 (Child Care Development Fund Rules). 02-01-135, 388-290-0075, filed 12/19/01, effective 1/19/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-22-043, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09)

WAC 170-290-0085   Change in copayment.   (1) Once DSHS determines that a consumer is eligible for WCCC benefits, his or her copayment may change when:

(a) The consumer's monthly income decreases;

(b) The consumer's family size increases;

(c) DSHS makes an error in the consumer's copayment computation;

(d) The consumer did not report all income, activity and household information at the time of eligibility determination or application/reapplication;

(e) The consumer is no longer eligible for the minimum copayment under WAC 170-290-0090;

(f) DEL makes a mass change in benefits due to a change in law or program funding;

(g) The consumer is approved for a new eligibility period; or

(h) The consumer is approved for the fourteen-day wait period or twenty-eight-day gap period as provided in WAC 170-290-0055.

(2) If a consumer's copayment changes during his or her eligibility period, the change is effective on the first day of the month following DSHS becoming aware of the change.

(3) DSHS does not increase a consumer's copayment during his or her current eligibility period when his or her countable income remains at or below ((two hundred percent of the FPG)) the maximum eligibility limit as provided in WAC 170-290-0005 (2)(d), and:

(a) The consumer's monthly countable income increases; or

(b) The consumer's family size decreases.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.060, 43.215.070, 2006 c 265, and chapter 43.215 RCW. 09-22-043, 170-290-0085, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09. 08-08-047, recodified as 170-290-0085, filed 3/27/08, effective 3/27/08. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.12.340, 74.13.085, and 2003 1st sp.s. c 25. 04-08-021 and 04-08-134, 388-290-0085, filed 3/29/04 and 4/7/04, effective 5/28/04. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.13.085. 02-14-067, 388-290-0085, filed 6/27/02, effective 8/1/02. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050 and C.F.R. Parts 98 and 99 (Child Care Development Fund Rules). 02-01-135, 388-290-0085, filed 12/19/01, effective 1/19/02.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-22-043, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09)

WAC 170-290-3520   Eligible consumers.   (1) In SCC, an eligible consumer is not currently receiving temporary aid for needy families (TANF), lives in the state of Washington, has parental control of one or more children, and is the child's:

(a) Parent, either biological or adopted;

(b) Stepparent;

(c) Legal guardian as verified by a legal or court document;

(d) Adult sibling or step-sibling;

(e) Aunt;

(f) Uncle;

(g) Niece or nephew;

(h) Grandparent; or

(i) Any of the above relatives in (e), (f), or (h) of this subsection, with the prefix "great," such as great-aunt.

(2) Consumers may be eligible for SCC benefits if they:

(a) Meet eligibility requirements in this chapter;

(b) Participate in an approved activity under WAC 170-290-3555; and

(c) Have countable income at or below ((two hundred percent of the federal poverty guidelines (FPG))) the maximum eligibility limit described in WAC ((170-290-3640)) 170-290-0005 (2)(d).

(3) Consumers are not eligible for SCC benefits if they:

(a) Have a copayment, under WAC 170-290-0075, that is higher than the maximum monthly state rate for all of the consumer's children in care;

(b) Were employed with one employer more than eleven months in the previous twelve months;

(c) Are receiving TANF benefits; or

(d) Are the only parent in the household and will be away from the home for more than thirty days in a row.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.060, 43.215.070, 2006 c 265, and chapter 43.215 RCW. 09-22-043, 170-290-3520, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 09-22-043, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09)

WAC 170-290-3640   Determining income eligibility and copayment.   (1) For the SCC program, DEL determines a consumer's family's income eligibility and copayment by:

(a) The consumer's family size as defined under WAC 170-290-3540;

(b) The consumer's average monthly income as calculated under WAC 170-290-3620;

(c) The consumer's family's average monthly income as compared to the federal poverty guidelines (FPG); and

(d) The consumer's family's average monthly income as compared to the copayment chart defined in WAC 170-290-0075.

(2) If a consumer's family's income is above ((two hundred percent of the FPG as defined in WAC 170-290-0075)) the maximum eligibility limit as provided in WAC 170-290-0005 (2)(d), his or her family is not eligible for the SCC program.

(3) SCC does not prorate the copayment when a consumer uses care for part of a month.

(4) The FPG is updated every year on April 1. The SCC eligibility level is updated at the same time every year to remain current with the FPG.

(5) SCC shall assign a copayment amount based on the family's countable income. The copayment amount will be on the consumer's child care plan. The consumer pays the copayment directly to the provider.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.215.060, 43.215.070, 2006 c 265, and chapter 43.215 RCW. 09-22-043, 170-290-3640, filed 10/28/09, effective 12/1/09.]

Washington State Code Reviser's Office