INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:40-7-8
1. (a) Some clients work at jobs where they are paid at least minimum wage, but the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) does not count the income because the income comes from exempt sources per Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC)
340:40-7-12. The client meets the employment need factor even though the income is not counted.
(b) Bartering for services in exchange for work performed does not meet the definition of employment. Examples of bartering include working in exchange for payment of rent, utilities, or a car payment.
(c) Gambling does not meet the definition of self-employment.
2. (a) When the parent or caretaker is employed, the worker accepts the client's declaration of work hours as proof, when pay stubs or other pay information supports the declaration. For example, when the client provides pay stubs or other pay information indicating he or she works 30 to 40 hours a week and the client states his or her schedule is Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, the declaration is accepted. The worker documents the declaration of work schedule in the Family Assistance/Client Services (FACS) Case Notes.
(b) When the client is an adoptive parent who meets criteria per OAC
340:40-7-12(6) or a caretaker not legally and financially responsible for the child, the client must provide his or her work schedule or the worker must verify the work schedule with the employer. Pay information is not required. When the adoptive parent or caretaker chooses to provide pay stubs, the worker accepts the client's declaration of work hours as described in (a) of this Instruction. The worker documents the work schedule and how it was verified in FACS case notes.
(c) When part of the client's work duties involves staying overnight away from home or working split shifts, the worker uses his or her judgment to determine the unit number and unit type to approve.
(d) When the client starts working, the worker approves the maximum amount of care the client may need. For instance, an employer statement may say the client works three to five days per week. The worker initially approves five days per week of care. The worker reevaluates the amount of care approved when actual pay is requested at renewal per OAC
340:40-9-1. Care may be reduced or increased depending on how many days and hours the client actually worked during that period.
(e) When the client has been employed for at least 30-calendar days, the worker evaluates the actual number of days and hours the client worked to determine the number of units and unit type to approve, unless there is reason to expect the work schedule to change. The worker documents in the Child Care tab and FACS Case Notes how he or she determined the number of units and unit type approved.
(f) Clients who have the flexibility to set their own work hours are most often self-employed. When the client is self-employed, the worker may accept his or her statement regarding work hours when it appears reasonable and meets the minimum wage requirement per OAC
340:40-7-8(a)(3). When the children attend school or Head Start, in most instances, it is reasonable to expect the client to work during those hours. When it is not reasonable, the worker clearly documents why in FACS Case Notes. When child care is requested in two-parent or two-caretaker families for self-employment, the worker determines whether self-employment work hours could be adjusted to reduce or eliminate the need for child care. For instance, could each parent or caretaker work a different schedule?
3. Exception to (a)(2) of this Section: The worker approves a weekly unit type for children attending an Early Head Start-Child Care Partnership (EHS-CCP) grant program regardless of the parent or caretaker's schedule provided a need factor is met for some of the EHS-CCP grant program care hours. For example, the parent or caretaker may work part-time, but the authorization is coded with a weekly unit type. When another child not attending an EHS-CCP grant program is included in the household and receives child care, the child is only approved for the days and hours the parent or caretaker meets the need factor, including travel time.
4. The worker refers the client to the Oklahoma Department of Labor (ODOL) to file a complaint when the employer is not paying minimum wage.
5. (a) Counseling may include:
(1) helping the client determine if this is the best field of employment for him or her;
(2) referring the client to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC) for help in locating other employment;
(3) helping the client develop an action plan to increase earnings;
(4) referring the client to a local resource that helps with small business planning. Most technology centers offer this type of service; or
(5) referring the client to ODOL to file a complaint, when his or her employer is not paying minimum wage.
(b) The worker and client decide jointly what plan to implement to increase the client's income, by what date the plan may be accomplished or progress made, and when to reevaluate the plan.
(c) The worker documents in FACS Case Notes the child care plan hours approved, what plan the client agreed to follow to increase income, and why any subsequent changes are made to the child care plan.
6. The worker consults with his or her supervisor before closing or denying benefits and documents the discussion in FACS Case Notes.
7. When substantial changes occur, such as illness, a change in business location, or unforeseen circumstances, the worker sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance before taking action.
8. (a) When the client works from home, the worker determines how flexible the client's work hours are and if other options are available instead of subsidized child care benefits. The worker documents all details of the client's situation and what decision was made in FACS Case Notes.
(b) Licensed capacity for a family child care home is seven or fewer children and for a licensed large family child care home is eight to 12 children.
(1) The provider's children, younger than 5 years of age, count toward licensed capacity regardless of whether the licensed child care home is the primary residence or is located elsewhere.
(2) When the licensed child care home is not the primary residence, the provider's children, younger than 13 years of age, present in the child care home count toward licensed capacity.
(3) The worker consults with Child Care Services (CCS) licensing staff to establish if a client, who is a child care provider, will be over capacity when his or her child remains in the child care home and documents the discussion in FACS Case Notes.
Refer to OAC 340:110-3-84 and
340:110-3-97.1 for licensing guidelines.
9. (a) Sleep time child care is approved for working families only. Care is not approved for two-parent or two-caretaker families when one parent goes to school during the day.
(b) The goal of the policy is to allow a parent or caretaker to get seven-to-eight hours of sleep. The maximum care is not approved when the client has the opportunity to sleep while the child is sleeping. For example, when a parent or caretaker's work schedule is from 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., eight hours of care is not approved since the parent or caretaker may sleep for three-to-four hours before the child wakes up.
10. (a) When the client receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and the training is approved as a TANF Work activity
340:10-2-1, child care may be approved.
(b) Examples of questionable programs could be programs for nurses' aides, data entry clerks, or cashiers. When the worker questions if a particular training program will make a person more employable, he or she may:
(1) check with employers in the area that employ people with this skill to determine if they require such a certificate, accreditation, or license. When they do not require one, but would pay more when the person had this credential, the worker approves child care for the training;
(2) contact a Work Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) counselor or an OESC employee to determine when a person is required to meet general training requirements prior to becoming employed in the field; or
(3) require the client to provide documentation showing how the training program may help the client become more employable.
(c) On-the-job training and apprenticeship programs pay participants
at least minimum wage for their work or training hours so care for this reason may be approved under the employment need factor.
11. When the client does not receive financial aid and the worker does not know if the school is eligible to disburse federal or state educational funds, the worker calls the school for confirmation.
12. (a) The worker verifies the days and hours the client attends school by obtaining a copy of the client's training or class schedule, documentation from the school showing the client's schedule, or by calling and verifying the schedule with school officials. Child care is limited to actual classroom attendance, including travel time.
(b) Child care may also be approved for activities outside the classroom required to pass the course, such as internship and practicum placements, volunteer hours required to pass a specific class, or other required activities.
(c) Child care may be approved for activities outside of the classroom required to maintain a scholarship, such as athletic practice sessions, participation at sporting events, band practice, volunteer activities, or other required activities. The worker verifies the scholarship by obtaining a:
(1) copy of the report from the registrar showing the scholarship disbursement and hours enrolled or documentation from the school's financial aid office showing proof of the scholarship; and
(2) letter from the scholarship grantor explaining the activities, including days and times for participation required to maintain the scholarship.
(d) When the client is required to attend a lab in order to pass a specific class, an instructor must be present during the lab or child care is not approved for those hours. Hours spent by a student in a computer lab on an as needed basis to complete homework assignments are not approved even when a school official is present to help with technical difficulties regarding the equipment.
(e) When there are gaps in class times, the worker may approve child care beginning with the first class of the day through the last class of the day. Additional study time is never approved unless it is an approved TANF Work activity.
Refer to OAC
(f) When the client stops attending school during the eligibility period, care must be continued until renewal.
(g) When a renewal is due between semesters or during school breaks, care must be continued as long as the client remains eligible and returns to classes following the break. Verification of continued enrollment is required.
13. Child care may only be approved for televised courses when the client views the training during the live broadcast because class participation is required. When the client views the video of the broadcast whenever it is convenient, care is not approved for those hours.
14. When still attending school at renewal and progress is questionable, the client provides a statement from the school verifying that he or she is making satisfactory progress and a current class schedule.
15. The intent of the work requirement is for the client to gain work experience and to make use of the training he or she has received. When special circumstances exist that make the requirement unreasonable, the worker may send an email to the AFS Child Care
Subsidy staff at email@example.com requesting special approval. When the request is granted, the worker documents the special circumstances in FACS Case Notes.
16. The goal is for the client to complete the program as quickly as possible.
17. When the client begins participating in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment and Training (E&T) program activities, the SNAP E&T program coordinator authorizes the child care.
18. (a) The worker closes the Child Care tab in FACS (E-section) using the appropriate reason code. The effective date of the closure is 90-calendar days from the date the client stops participating in SNAP E&T.
(b) When the client obtains employment and the child care renewal is due, the worker:
(1) completes a child care renewal per OAC
(2) changes the number of units and unit type and assesses a family share copayment, when owed, effective the next deadline date per Appendix B-2, Deadlines for Case Actions and documents changes in FACS case notes.
(c) When the client obtains employment and the child care renewal is not due, the worker calculates income per OAC 340:40-7-10 and OAC 340:40-7-13 to determine if the client remains income eligible per DHS Appendix C-4, Schedule II. When the client remains income eligible, the worker increases the number of units and unit type, when needed, and makes the income change. Per OAC
340:40-9-2(b), the worker does not decrease the number of units and unit type or increase the family share copayment until the renewal is due.
19. Child care is limited to the days and hours needed to complete the TANF Work activity plus travel time.
20. (a)To approve child care, the worker uses reason code 5, "TANF – substance abuse treatment" in the Auth. Daycare tab.
(b) Refer to OAC 340:40-7-6(c) for rules regarding periods of absence from the home when the parent attends in-patient substance abuse treatment.
21. When a parent or caretaker relative receives a child only TANF benefit, he or she must meet a non-TANF Work need factor. Reasons a parent may not be included in a TANF benefit include, when the parent:
(1) is ineligible for TANF due to the illegal use of a controlled substance or substances;
(2) is an ineligible alien; or
(3) receives Supplemental Security Income and/or a State Supplemental Payment.
22. To continue the child care for 90-calendar days, the worker closes the Child Care tab in FACS (E-section) using the appropriate reason code. The effective date of the closure is 90-calendar days from the date the client stops participating in TANF Work activities or a non-TANF Work need factor.
23. (a) When the Child Welfare Services (CWS) specialist considers the family at risk for child abuse or neglect, but the family is not court involved, the CWS specialist contracts for Comprehensive Home-Based Services (CHBS) with Oklahoma Children's Services (OCS). When CWS is not maintaining an open CWS case, the AFS worker completes the application for subsidized protective or preventive child care benefits. The CHBS case manager assists the family in applying for subsidized child care benefits. When approved, families receiving CHBS services are approved with a zero family share copayment. To verify the need for child care, the CHBS case manager provides a written statement to the AFS worker indicating:
(1) the names and ages of the children for whom child care is needed;
(2) why child care is needed and how it may eliminate or reduce the risk to the children;
(3) what days and hours child care is needed; and
(4) how long child care is expected to be needed.
(b) The worker scans the statement provided by the CHBS case manager into imaging. When more than 30-calendar days of care are needed, the AFS worker sends an email requesting approval to the AFS Child Care
(c) In the FACS Eligibility Notebook under the Auth. Daycare tab, enter reason, "prevention of or protection from abuse, neglect, or exploitation," on the authorization.
24. (a) Protective or preventive child care allows homeless families to stabilize their living arrangements.
(b) The worker may approve a homeless family for a weekly or blended unit type for the initial 30-calendar days.
25. (a) Temporarily means the family applying for child care has not shared housing with another household for more than 90-calendar days prior to the application date.
(b) Voluntarily sharing housing with another household for the purpose of reducing expenses does not meet the definition of homeless.
26. (a) Temporarily means the family applying for child care has not lived in a hotel, motel, or camping ground for more than 90-calendar days prior to the application date.
(b) Permanent residence in a mobile home park does not meet the definition of homeless.
27. (a) Protective or preventive child care allows families affected by disasters to stabilize their living arrangements.
(b) The worker may approve a family affected by a disaster meeting the protective or preventive need factor for a weekly or blended rate for the initial 30-calendar days.
(c) When an extension for protective or preventive child care is needed due to a disaster, the client must provide verification from an agency working with the family that their home was affected by a disaster and the worker must request an extension from AFS Child Care Subsidy staff as outlined in (f)(3) of this Section.
28. (a) For initial applications, a full eligibility determination must be made, including an interview. The interview may be completed over the phone. The client's declaration of need is accepted for the initial 30-calendar days of protective or preventive care.
(b) When the worker approves the initial 30-calendar days of protective or preventive child care benefits, an end date is entered on the authorization to ensure further child care is not authorized without AFS Child Care Subsidy staff approval.
29. (a) When an extension for protective or preventive child care is needed, the worker scans into imaging verification supporting the need for child care and labels the verification as protective/preventive request. The worker sends an email to the AFS Child Care Subsidy staff to request the extension and informs staff the verification is in imaging. For most protective or preventive extension requests, the email must include:
(1) the names and ages of all children for whom child care is needed;
(2) an explanation of the reason child care is needed, the circumstances leading to the conclusion the child is at risk of neglect, abuse, or exploitation, and how child care may eliminate or substantially reduce risk to the child;
(3) an explanation of whether a CWS referral was made, and if not, the reason, as well as any coordination efforts between AFS staff, CWS staff, and any other community partners;
(4) the days and hours child care is requested for each child;
(5) an explanation of the support system available to the family;
(6) an explanation of the plan discussed at the initial interview to reduce or eliminate the need for care including an exploration of any free alternative to child care. Examples include the availability of other family members, Head Start, and pre-kindergarten programs;
(7) the length of time child care is needed;
(8) an explanation when the worker requests the family share copayment be reduced or completely waived because of family expenses. The worker also includes an explanation of the plan to decrease the debt; and
(9) the worker's opinion about the need for child care.
(b) AFS Child Care
Subsidy staff approves protective or preventive requests for no more than 12 months at a time. When the worker requests another extension at renewal, the worker sends a new email that includes more detail showing what efforts were made to reduce or eliminate the need for protective or preventive child care.
(c) In the FACS Eligibility Notebook under the Auth. Daycare tab enter reason, "prevention of or protection from abuse, neglect, or exploitation," on the authorization.
30. The professional is required to be someone currently working with the family in a professional capacity to improve the family's stability or functioning. Examples include a doctor, counselor, therapist, CWS specialist, SoonerStart worker, or CHBS case manager.
31. (a) The worker documents in the email why he or she is requesting a family's normal family share copayment be reduced or eliminated and how the family plans to increase its responsibility toward paying the family share copayment in the future.
(b) Families for whom protective or preventive child care is requested by a CHBS case manager are approved with a zero copayment.
(c) When the family is receiving other AFS benefits and income is considered for those other benefits, the worker diverts the income in the Child Care tab of FACS, "total diverted income" field E47.
32. The worker may help the client develop a budget that decreases the debt or refer the client to Consumer Credit Counseling or another local resource for help. This plan is included in the email.
33. Enrichment child care is not approved when the parent or caretaker meets another need factor.
34. The client provides documentation from the school verifying the child is unable to attend class. The worker enters what documentation was provided in case notes.
35. (a) The worker scans into imaging the written documentation provided by the client from a professional who is working directly with the child and sends the email to the AFS Child Care Subsidy staff for approval. The email includes:
(1) why enrichment child care is recommended for the child;
(2) if the child has another way to become socialized, such as participation in a play group with other children, special education services through the local school system, Early Head Start, or Head Start; and
(3) the name of the child care facility the child plans to attend.
(b) AFS Child Care Subsidy staff reviews the email and documentation and emails the worker to approve or deny care. When approved, care is authorized for no more than six months at a time.
(c) The worker enters the approval or denial in the FACS Eligibility Notebook, Auth. Daycare tab. The worker enters as the reason "enrichment, supervision, training, or to avoid institutionalization."
Refer to OAC
340:40-7-3.1 for information about the approval process for the higher special needs rate unit type.