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HB24-1223

Improved Access to the Child Care Assistance Program

Concerning the improvement of programs that benefit working families, and, in connection therewith, making an appropriation.
Session:
2024 Regular Session
Subjects:
Children & Domestic Matters
Education & School Finance (Pre & K-12)
Bill Summary

The bill overhauls the Colorado child care assistance program (CCCAP). The bill simplifies the application process by:

  • Creating a universal application;
  • Limiting the application information to only what is necessary to determine eligibility;
  • Prohibiting counties from adding additional required eligibility requirements; and
  • When applying for redetermination, requiring the recipients to provide only information that has changed.

The bill creates presumptive eligibility for 90 days when basic federal requirements are met that are verified through self-attestation. Income qualifications are changed to correspond with universal preschool program requirements. A county may exclude state and federal assistance program income eligibility guidelines in eligibility determinations.

An employee of a child care provider may apply to the CCCAP and be granted full benefits for children from 6 weeks of age to 13 years of age, regardless of the employee's income.

The bill directs that child care providers be paid based on enrollment and not on attendance and be paid a weekly rate in advance. Employers are permitted to cover copayments, and copayments are limited to 7% of a family's income. The bill authorizes grants and contracts for underserved populations.

Starting July 1, 2025, the department shall create a pilot program for unlicensed providers to seek license-exempt status and establishment as an eligible CCCAP provider separate and distinct from the parent-initiated process. The bill lists the crimes that disqualify a child care provider from becoming qualified as license-exempt. Family child care home providers are included as eligible providers.

A CCCAP recipient is required to engage in an eligible activity to receive benefits. The bill includes substance use disorder treatment programs, job training, and education activities as eligible activities.

The department of early childhood education (department) is directed to evaluate the costs and benefits of a statewide reimbursement process. The bill directs the department to administer the child and adult care food program (CACFP). A participant's eligibility for CACFP must not be based on being qualified as exempt in CCCAP. The department shall develop, implement, and oversee an alternative eligibility process for participation in CACFP that is specifically tailored for license-exempt family, friend, or neighbor providers. The department of early childhood education, in consultation with the department of public health and environment, shall conduct or contract for a study to determine the feasibility of de-linking eligibility for the federal child and adult care food program from the Colorado child care assistance program. The bill appropriates $100,000 from the general fund to the department of early childhood for the child and adult care food program study.

(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)


(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)

Status

Introduced
Passed

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Bill Text

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The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details