RD469 - Annual Report on Child Care Subsidy Sliding Fee Scale and Income Eligibility Criteria - December 2015

Executive Summary:
Item 335 (I) of the Act requires the State Board of Social Services (Board) to establish rules and regulations for the sliding fee scale and eligibility criteria for child care subsidy services in Virginia. These sliding fee scale regulations and eligibility criteria are required to adjust for variations in the local cost of living index by metropolitan statistical areas.

The Board first established rules and regulations governing the income eligibility scale for child care subsidies in October of 1997. Since 1998, local departments of social services have been assigned to one of three assistance groups, based on metropolitan statistical area groupings, in order to reflect statewide cost of living indicators. These three groups, with adjustments for family size, guide the maximum income limits for child care subsidy services. In September 2014, the Board established the sliding co-payment scale. This scale provides for cost sharing by families receiving assistance based on family size and income. Families are assigned a co-payment responsibility of 5% to 10% of their gross monthly income, except that families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and families receiving Head Start Wrap-Around child care whose income is at or below 100% of the federal poverty guidelines have no co-payment.

The maximum family income limits for child care subsidy services are established using three different percentages of the federal poverty guidelines, based on the area of the state in which a family lives. These percentages are 150%, 160%, and 185%. Two northern Virginia localities, Alexandria and Fairfax, have waivers to set income eligibility limits at 250% of the federal poverty guidelines, capped at 85% of state median income which is the federal eligibility limit for the program. In all localities, the income of an applicant standing in loco parentis is measured at 250% of the federal poverty guidelines. This priority group was established to enable families to care for children who may otherwise enter the foster care system.

The Department of Social Services will continue to modify the income eligibility scale and sliding co-payment scale to reflect adjustments to the federal poverty guidelines. This will assist in facilitating continued delivery of subsidized child care assistance to income-eligible families throughout the Commonwealth.