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Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsApril 2018

Authenticated PDF Version

16 DE Admin. Code 11002.4 &11004
Delaware Health and Social Services ("Department") / Division of Social Services initiated proceedings to amend Division of Social Services Manual regarding Child Care Assistance specifically, to clarify policy related to determination of eligibility. The Department's proceedings to amend its regulations were initiated pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10114 and its authority as prescribed by 31 Delaware Code Section 512.
The Department published its notice of proposed regulation changes pursuant to 29 Delaware Code Section 10115 in the January 2018 Delaware Register of Regulations, requiring written materials and suggestions from the public concerning the proposed regulations to be produced by January 31, 2018, at which time the Department would receive information, factual evidence and public comment to the said proposed changes to the regulations.
In accordance with the federal public notice requirements established at Section 1902(a)(13)(A) of the Social Security Act and 42 CFR 447.205 and the state public notice requirements of Title 29, Chapter 101 of the Delaware Code, Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS)/Division of Social Services (DSS) gives public notice and provides an open comment period for thirty (30) days to allow all stakeholders an opportunity to provide input on the proposed regulation. Comments were to have been received by 4:30 p.m. on January 31, 2018.
Comment: One commenter was concerned that current regulations do not take into consideration the eligibility status of full-time students.
Agency Response: Child care policy establishes guidelines for all families that apply for assistance. The goal of the Child Care Subsidy Program is to assist families who are unable to pay a part or the full cost of child care. The child care policies currently in place do address education. In order to qualify for child care assistance while obtaining an education, families need to comply with one of the DSS employment and training vendors under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Comment: Another commenter had three separate comments.
First, "…the amendment of 11002.4… extends eligibility to children who are in need of protective services, homeless or in foster care; however, it is unclear whether this is irrespective of age or alien status. The regulation would benefit from language clarifying that this group of children is eligible irrespective of age or immigration status, if that is the case."
Agency Response: DSS appreciates your request for clarity regarding the section referencing children in need of protective care, children who are homeless, or in foster care. This section focuses on the eligibility of the children. The first section outlines age and immigration status, while the second section outlines different placement situations. Children would still need to meet the criteria in the first section in reference to their age and immigration status.
Second, Subsection 2 lists the eligibility requirements for parents and Caretakers which includes those who "report a special need". It might be beneficial to cross-reference the definition of "special need" in 11003.7.8.
Agency Response: The agency agrees and the policy was amended to add a cross-reference to policy 11003.7.8 under the "Related policies" section.
Third, "…the proposed language in paragraph 2 indicates that "Parents and caretakers who appears to be eligible may complete a formal application process". Unfortunately, case handlers make mistakes and potential applicants can be erroneously and unnecessarily discouraged from filing applications that would trigger a formal decision and a right to appeal. Some of the eligibility rules are complex (such as alien status) and some aspects of eligibility, such as having a special need, are subjective and not suitable for an informal decision by a case worker. Families who are told they probably not eligible by a case worker are not likely to pursue an application. The policy needlessly and unfairly skews the process against families.
Agency Response: DSS encourages all Delaware residents to apply for available programs offered through the Division. During the interview process all applicants are screened. Case workers are trained to address individual needs and to advise families of any and all available services. The policy further explains the process the worker must take when reviewing informal inquiries leading into the application process.
THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, that the proposed regulation to amend Division of Social Services Manual regarding Child Care Assistance specifically, to clarify policy related to determination of eligibility is adopted and shall be final effective April 11, 2018.
11002.4 Determining Persons Eligible for Child Care Assistance
DSS provides child care services to eligible Delaware families with children who need child care and who are under the age of 13, or children 13 through 18 years of age who are physically or mentally incapable of caring for themselves or who are in need of protective services.
The Division can provide Child Care services for eligible families where there is at least one U.S. citizen, legal alien or qualified refugee in the family. If one member of the family is a U.S. citizen, legal alien or qualified refugee and he/she meets both technical and financial eligibility criteria, Child Care services can be provided. The Division will evaluate non-US citizen cases on an individual basis.
1. Eligibility Criteria for Children
B. Children are also eligible for child care services if they are:
A. To be determined eligible for child care services, parents and caretakers must meet at least one of the
following requirements:
[11003 Determining Technical Eligibility for Child Care Assistance DSSM 11003, 11003.7.8]
11004 Application Processing Applying for Child Care Assistance
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
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