Georgia’s Child Care Assistance Program ( CAPS)
State Government Adding to the All Ready Stressed Child Care Industry
Subsidized Child Care Program (CAPS):
The Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program helps low income families afford child care in order to go to work. The CAPS program can subsidize the cost of child care for children who are US citizens or legal residents and under age 13. The age can be extended to 18 if the child has special needs. Families choose their own child care provider, and CAPS reimburses the providers directly for providing the care. Eligible families are expected to share in the cost of care by paying a fee based on their income, family size and the number of children receiving child care subsidies, but frequently, families are not able to pay their portion, a cost which the provider ends up absorbing. This program has moved from DHS to DECAL, effective July 1, 2012.
- Federal guidelines state providers should be reimbursed at the 75th percentile of the current market rate.
- Georgia currently reimburses providers at the 25th percentile of the current market rate, and providers are expected to absorb the difference from other paying customers.
- Providers have had NO RATE INCREASE IN SEVEN (7) YEARS.
Proposed Solution: Transfer $30,000,000 from TANF to the subsidized child care program to provide a provider rate increase. Georgia currently receives $330.7 million in TANF dollars (Reflected in Georgia’s DHS budget). Federal law authorizes states to transfer up to 30% of TANF dollars (or $99,000,000 in Georgia) to the subsidized child care program. Georgia transfers only $600,000 annually. Up until 2008, Georgia previously transferred $30,000,000 to support, but they supplanted that money with stimulus dollars which have now gone away. Georgia should reinvest that $30 million from TANF to subsidized child care and provide a rate increase for providers.
Why Should I Complete the 2013 Market Survey?
All providers were sent a market rate survey by DECAL/DHS to complete with their current tuition information. This survey is critical to our industry as it helps our government establish rates for the Child Care Assistance Program ( CAPS) and will become the basis for tiered reimbursement rates. Please submit this information as soon as possible! Please portray your accurate rates and do not feel that you must report lower rates. The information provided helps low income families obtain access to quality care.
What is tiered reimbursement and how can I be eligible?
Tiered reimbursement is a concept built around quality rating and improvement systems whereby providers are reimbursed at higher subsidy rates or tiers based upon their programs rating within a system. Georgia will be introducing tiered reimbursement as part of the incentives package for the Quality Rated Improvement System and is due to take effect July 2013. Centers must be participating in QR and have achieved a rating in the system to qualify.
The tiered amounts for achieving each level have not been solidified yet and may be contingent upon additional funding for the program.
Important Links and Studies
State by State Facts Sheets of Child Care Assistance Policies