Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force. The bill makes several changes to the statute that created a pilot program to address the cliff effect that occurs when working parents in the Colorado child care assistance program (CCCAP) receive a minor increase in their income that makes them ineligible for child care assistance and the increase in wages is not enough to cover the costs for child care without the child care assistance. The cliff effect pilot program was designed to allow families to remain in the CCCAP program notwithstanding the increase in income. The changes to the statute governing the pilot program include:
- Extending the duration of the cliff effect pilot program;
- Allowing counties to limit participation in the pilot program to a reasonable percentage of their CCCAP caseload instead of having to cover all of their CCCAP caseload;
- Allowing counties to limit participation in the pilot program to families who enter CCCAP with children who are 36 months of age or younger;
- Allowing counties to have more flexibility in designing a pilot program that best addresses their specific community needs;
- Clarifying the data collection and reporting responsibilities of the county departments of human services and the department of human services (department) about the pilot program.
The bill creates a grant program in the department for the purpose of encouraging counties to undertake activities or strategies that promote access to child care or increase the quality of child care in CCCAP. A county may apply to the department for a grant to fund any of these purposes:
- To pay the county's administrative expenses to participate in a cliff effect pilot program and to provide additional benefits to CCCAP parents in the cliff effect pilot program; or
- To expand access to child care in CCCAP by providing a full or partial subsidy for child care without a county contribution for more families than those currently served in the county; or
- To pay all or a portion of the county's expenses to engage in more than one activity or strategy to promote quality child care in CCCAP in that county.
The state department awards grants from a CCCAP enhancement fund created in the state treasury. To the extent possible and subject to available appropriations, the state department must manage the amount of funds in the enhancement fund and allocate the grants awarded to counties for the purposes or strategies allowed for distributions from the fund with at least 25% of the moneys in the enhancement fund spent on each of the specified purposes. When awarding grants to increase the number of children served in CCCAP, the state department shall distribute the moneys in the enhancement fund among the counties that are awarded grants in a manner that increases the number of children served statewide by an amount that does not exceed 15% more children than the unduplicated count of the number of children who were served statewide in state fiscal year 2013-14. The bill specifies the types of activities or strategies that may be used to qualify for a grant for activities that promote quality child care.
Grant moneys awarded to a county out of the enhancement fund do not affect the county's block grant for CCCAP and do not affect the county's maintenance of effort for CCCAP. A county is not required to provide local funds to qualify for a grant from the enhancement fund.
Counties are highly encouraged to collaborate with early childhood councils and other community partners as necessary in the development of a grant application.
The executive director of the department or his or her designee must enter into a memorandum of understanding with each county that receives a grant from the CCCAP enhancement fund. The state department may adopt rules as necessary concerning the application process and the administration of the grant program.
The cliff effect program and authority to make grants from the CCCAP enhancement fund for a cliff effect program are repealed, effective July 1, 2020.
The department is directed to report annually about CCCAP and the results of the CCCAP enhancement fund grant program to the house public health care and human services committee and to the senate health and human services committee, or any successor committees. The bill lists the items that should be included in the annual report.