Member Assistance Program Child Care & Child Support Guide New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania Fall Spring 2017

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1 Harvey Whille, President Matthew Molinaro, Secretary-Treasurer John Colella, Recorder Member Assistance Program Child Care & Child Support Guide New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania Fall Spring 2017 UFCW Local 1262 is providing this MAP Child Care & Child Support Guide as a resource for our members and their families. The Guide contains an overview of some of the services and programs available to them, as well as helpful tips for evaluating your child care options. The information contained in this Guide is the most current and accurate as of the publication date, but should not be considered all inclusive. Please keep in mind, also, that especially in the current economic climate, some of the programs listed here may change their eligibility or other requirements. On behalf of Local 1262 s Officers, Executive Board and Staff, we hope you find this information helpful as we work together to support our members and their families - - on and off the job. Fraternally, Harvey Whille President Harvey Whille UFCW Local Broad Street Clifton, NJ Fax: Hotline GET-1262

2 Finding Childcare Finding the right childcare - childcare that is good quality, affordable and convenient - can be a difficult task. This booklet is designed to guide families through the process & ensure that they are aware of the various options available to them in their communities. Families looking for financial assistance for child care should be aware that the availability of funding, your income & your most recent tax return may affect your eligibility. MAP Tips: 1. Start early - finding appropriate childcare can be very time-consuming. 2. Make a call to your local experts - your Child Care Resource and Referral Agency. 2. Visit and ask questions - caregiver qualifications, turnover, accreditation, etc. 3. Stay involved - attend parent-caregiver meetings, visit the center, and participate in special events whenever possible. Choosing Childcare: Areas to Assess and Questions to Ask 1. Provider - person or group of people who provides your child with care and guidance and works with you and your family to make sure your child grows/learns in the best possible way: Does the provider have references? Are the child care fees within your budget? Does the provider charge on days when your child is not there? Is there a written agreement or contract? Is there a policy for medical situations and emergencies? Will your child travel away from the center or provider s home without your consent? Are parents welcome to visit at any time? Is there regular communication between parents and providers? What discipline methods are used? Are the attitudes toward child rearing similar to yours? Are the providers warm and friendly? What are the provisions for mildly ill children? 2. Setting - Is the facility safe? Clean? Reasonably orderly? Free of health hazards? Is there adequate space/equipment for children to rest, eat and play? Are first aid supplies close at hand? What are the check-in/check out procedures? Is the outdoor play area equipment clean and in good repair? 2

3 Choosing Childcare (cont.) 3. Program - Age-appropriate activities help your child develop educationally, physically, socially, emotionally. The activities should be geared to your child s age while providing stimulation. How many children will be in your child s group? What is the age range of the group? Is there a daily schedule? Is television used? Why? How much? Are there activities that encourage children to learn new things? Are good health habits and personal cleanliness encouraged? Are positive social skills encouraged and modeled? 4. Your Child s Personality and Needs Does your child need a predictable schedule? Does your child like to have an adult close by for naps? Is consideration given for the individual needs of children? Does your child have any special needs that may make one type of child care preferable to another? Other Childcare Considerations Don t Panic If Your Child Cries When You Leave - It s hard for a young child to understand I ll be back later. This comes as the child develops and learns that at the end of the day, you do come back. It may also be hard for an older child, but your child usually just needs some extra reassurance that you will return. Remember, it s usually much harder on you than on your child. However, if your child is crying after a considerable amount of time, you should look further into the reaction. Communicate - Take time to discuss your child s day with the provider. You ll feel more connected to how your child is developing. Remember to talk to your child about the day too. He or she needs to know that your are interested. Child Care Can Benefit Your Child - Research shows that in high quality child care, children learn to share and cooperate: develop trusting relationships; and how to solve problems. These are critical skills that will benefit your child through adulthood. 3

4 New Jersey Child Care Programs Finding Child Care in NJ Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) index.html New Jersey's (CCR&Rs) help NJ families find, evaluate, and for eligible families, pay for child care. Their trained staff can provide the following information to parents, the public, and providers: Availability of child care services provided through the New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program & other programs for which the family may be eligible. Information about the different type of providers. Financial assistance to obtain child care services. The Family Child Care Registration Program and other initiatives designed to improve the quality of child care services. The child care subsidy program for: low- to moderate-income working families, families seeking self-sufficiency & participating in Work First New Jersey (WFNJ), children under the supervision of the Dept. of Children & Families (DCF), children being cared for by relatives (Kinship Care) & children needing child care before/ after Dept. of Education (DOE) preschool services in designated School Districts. Referrals to your local agency or more information. NJ Department of Children & Families Licensed Child Care Centers For the most current list of NJ licensed child care centers, go to the website above. Childcare for NJ Children with Special Needs Special Services School Districts These districts provide options for preschool students with special needs and were developed to address the educational and developmental needs of children ages 3-5. Typically, these districts are comprised of three types of classes: 1. Classes that educate 4-year-old students who have special needs in the same classroom as those students who do not have special needs; 2. Preschool classes for students with Individualized Educational Programs (IEP s) and the need for smaller group sizes and more individualized programming; 3. Classes with highly specialized instruction for students with autism and students with learning impairments. Choosing Child Care - A Parents Guide for NJ Children with Special Needs special/7_parentsguidebacktoback.pdf 4

5 Types of Child Care in NJ Center and School Based Settings Child Care Centers Licensed by the state of NJ, these facilities are inspected every two years and must meet basic health, safety, program and staffing requirements. They can care for six or more children from the age of six weeks to 13. There are many types of licensed child care centers, including but not limited to: infant/toddler programs; early care and education programs; school-age programs. Licensed centers also may choose to meet more rigorous, research based or accreditation standards. (There also are license-exempt centers, such as programs that are part of a public school district or private school.) Head Start & Early Head Start Head Start and Early Head Start programs support the mental, social and emotional development of children from birth to age 5. In addition to education services, programs provide children and their families with health, nutrition, social and other services. School District Preschool Programs School districts provide research-based preschool programs for 3 & 4 year-olds, that may be located within a school district site, a private provider or a local Head Start Agency. Home-based Settings Family Child Care This type is provided in someone s home. In NJ, a provider can care for no more than five children, plus a maximum of three of their own children. In-home providers can choose to be registered, which means they meet the basic safety and program requirements established by state law. This registration also allows these in-home providers to accept payments from families participating in government-subsidized child care assistance programs. Approved Homes Approved Homes are private residences approved by the CCR&R Agency and that meet minimum health and safety standards. These homes serve 1-2 paid/subsidy children or up to five children who are all siblings. In-Home Care In this type of care, a person comes to your home to care for your child. This provider might offer other services such as light housekeeping, starting or making dinner, or driving your child to lessons or play dates. Although you may use an agency to find such a provider, they are neither regulated nor licensed by the state and cannot participate in Grow NJ Kids, NJ s Quality Rating Improvement System. 5

6 Resources for Children and their Families NJ Child Support Statewide Information Line Guidelines, Eligibility, Forms, etc.; Child Support County Offices; Child Support Payment Information; Detailed Resource Guides and Brochures NJ Paid Family Leave Insurance (FLI) Benefits Customer Service Section Under the Family Leave Insurance provision of the NJ Temporary Disability Benefits Law, cash benefits may be payable for up to six (6) weeks to bond with a newborn or newly adopted child or to provide care for a seriously ill family member. NJ Family Care NJ Family Care is a federal and state funded health insurance program created to help New Jersey's uninsured children & certain low-income parents and guardians to have affordable health coverage. Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund (FUND) The Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund is a financial assistance program for New Jersey Families whose children have an illness or condition otherwise uncovered by insurance, State or Federal programs, or other source, such as fundraising. The Fund is intended to assist in preserving a family's ability to cope with the responsibilities which accompany a child's significant health problems. Eligibility: The child must have been 21 years or younger when the medical expenses were incurred. In any prior, consecutive, 12 month period, dating back to 1988, eligible expenses must exceed 10% of the family's income, plus 15% of any excess income over $100,000. Grow NJ Kids NJ s quality rating and improvement system of child care and early learning. Also provides more detailed information on child care options. 6

7 New York Child Care Programs Finding Child Care in New York NY Child Care Resource and Referral Agency (CCR&R) (Lists county phone numbers) NY CCR&R s provide services to parents and day care providers in every county of New York State. If you are looking for child care, begin with the CCR&R in your county: They will ask you about: the kind and hours of care; the ages of your children; any special needs your child may have. They will give you a list of providers that most closely meet your needs. You will then need to contact the provider to see if they have space for your child & visit the child care provider you select to ensure that this is the right match for you. As you Think About Child Care excellent brochure for seeking good childcare NY City CCR&R New York State Office of Children Child Care Subsidy Programs; Search for Child Care; Info for Parents; Forms and Publications; Resources for Families; Local Departments of Social Services; and more. Types of Regulated Child Care in New York Day Care Centers - provide care for more than 6 children at a time, not in a personal residence. Small Day Care Centers - provide care for up to 6 children, not in a personal residence. Family Day Care Homes - provide care for three to 6 children at a time in a residence; may add one or two school-age children. The maximum allowable number of children will depend on whether there are and how many infants are in care. Group Family Day Care Homes - provide care for 7 to 12 children at a time in a residence; may add one or two school-age children. The maximum allowable number of children will depend on whether there are and how many infants are in care. A provider must use an assistant when more than 6 children are present. (Each of the programs listed above can serve children ages six weeks through twelve years and operate for more than three hours a day.) School-Age Child Care Programs - provide care for more than six children from kindergarten through age twelve. Care for children during non-school hours; also may provide care during school vacation periods and holidays. 7

8 Types of NY Child Care (cont) Nursery Schools - provide care for three hours a day or less. In New York City, the City Department of Health regulates these programs. A nursery school may voluntarily register with the State Education Department (SED). Pre-Kindergartens - usually located in public schools, but can also be found in private schools or day care centers; supervised by the SED. Head Start Centers - targeted for preschool-age children from low income families; federally funded and usually licensed as Day Care Centers. Regulation and Oversight - Programs regulated by the State Office of Children and Family Services must be licensed or registered. With only a few exceptions, every program that cares for more than 2 children 3 hours or more per day must have a license or registration certificate. When you visit a regulated child care facility, ask to see the license or registration. Inspections - Every licensed child care program must be inspected at least once before each license renewal. At least 50% of all registered providers are inspected annually. Non-regulated/Informal Care is home-based care for 1 to 2 children at a time in addition to the provider's children; are not required to register. Other Resources for NY Children and their Families NY Governor's Resources Page for Working Families Excellent comprehensive website for all variety of services including: Child Support Program Assists custodial parents in establishing paternity, and obtaining, modifying and enforcing financial and medical support obligations. Child Care Subsidies New York State offers many resources including subsidies to lowincome families to make safe, quality child care accessible and affordable. Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive child development programs. Head Start serves children ages 3 to 5 and their families. Early Head Start serves pregnant women and their families and children birth to age 3 and their families. NYS Kinship Navigator (non-parent caregivers) A statewide program specifically designed to provide information and resources to kinship caregivers. Autism Platform New York State services & supports for individuals with autism. Resource Directory for Children and Young Adults with Special Health Care Needs https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/0548.pdf 8

9 Pennsylvania Child Care & Child Support Finding PA Child Care Child Care Information Services CCIS learnaboutdhs/helpfultelephonenumbers/childcareinformationservices/index.htm Child Care Information Services (CCIS) agencies are the hub of child care information in your local area. There is a CCIS agency in each county that can provide you and your family with information on quality child care and personalized child care referrals to child care providers based on your needs or preferences. Child Care Works Helpline at (877-4-PA-KIDS) CCIS agencies also administer the Child Care Works subsidized child care program. For all of your child care questions and needs, contact your local CCIS agency (listed on their website) or call the Child Care Works Helpline. As you Think about Child Care excellent brochure for seeking good childcare Types of Regulated Childcare in PA Family child care homes, sometimes called in-home child care programs, which serve between four and six children who are not related to the owner, receive a certificate of compliance from the state. They must also follow regulations for family child care homes. Pennsylvania s child care certification representatives inspect the program before it begins operations as well as annual inspections and investigating complaints. Group Child Care Homes. Serve up to 12 children if children are infants, toddlers, preschoolers or young school-agers. A group child care home serving only older school age children may have a capacity of 15. These programs receive a certificate of compliance from the state. They must also follow regulations for group child care homes. Child Care Centers (serving 7 or more children) also receive a certificate of compliance and must meet regulations for child care centers. Pennsylvania s child care certification representatives inspect the program before it begins operations as well as annual inspections and investigating complaints. 9

10 Other Resources for PA Children and Families PA Child Support Program https://www.humanservices.state.pa.us/csws/ The Pennsylvania Child Support website is an easy way to access child support program information and case details. PA DHS Office of Children s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) CHIP provides free or low-cost health insurance for families. The program provides health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for, or enrolled in, Medical Assistance. CHIP is available for families whose income is above 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). CHIP covers uninsured kids and teens up to age 19 that are not eligible for Medical Assistance. For more information about CHIP, go to Special Kids Network Helpline The Helpline is answered by trained, knowledgeable staff; connects families to resources; refers families for individual & family-centered services when needed. 10

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