Market Rate Changes Explained

The final regulation to implement new market rates was posted on June 15.

There is a short public comment period, which ends on July 27, 2016. We–CSEA–are working with members across the state to provide information and assist providers to submit comments.

Submit comments to:
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 305 South
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Fax: (518) 486-7550
E-mail: info@ocfs.ny.gov

New York state continues to use the 69th percentile formula.   We, along with other advocates, pushed to get back to 75th percentile. Given that there was NO ADDITIONAL $$ in the state budget for child care this year, it is good that NYS retained the 69th percentile.

For the first time:

—-  The infant definition in subsidy regulations now synchs with health and safety regulations (per negotiating team- agreement with NYS/OCFS). Before, though you were limited to two children under two at any one time, you were only paid the higher rate up to 18 months.

—-  DSS agencies will now have to pay a 5% minimum enhanced rate for children experiencing homelessness in regulated child care programs and all children attending child care during non-traditional hours (morning, evening, and weekends). OCFS will provide more details on the non-traditional hour minimum rate after the regulation takes effect.

—-  NYS combined Group Family and Family into one rate category. The federal government now has only one category for family child care. So – when the data was collected, Group Family and Family data were analyzed together instead of separately.

—-  Since CSEA worked with OCFS to change the ratios, many registered family child care providers transitioned to licensed group family. The regulations are the same for registered family and licensed group family – except for ratio restrictions. OCFS has found that many licensed group family child care providers are operating as registered family child care. Having a single rate makes it more affordable for Group Family Child Care providers operating as Family Child Care to do so.


What could be better?

MORE STATE FUNDING FOR CHILD CARE
Decisions about rates are always driven by $$. Last time OCFS implemented new market rates (2014), the Governor put $21 million in the state budget for the rate change. The legislature added over $30 million to make the total over $50 million AND the formula was still moved back from the 75th to the 69th percentile meaning that many rates stayed the same instead of increasing.

This year – there was NO MONEY in the budget for child care AND HUGE COSTS to implement the new federal standards in the next three years.   The state is trying to balance rates and subsidy slots without making the kind of investment in child care that is needed to sustain slots for children and support providers to deliver quality care.

We work every year with advocates across the nation and state to push for more $$ for child care. While we did win a slight increase at the federal level, it is not nearly enough to meet the need. And – this year – the legislature budgeted no increase despite the substantial cost we face to implement new federal standards.

What can we do?

1) Submit comments on the new rates before July 27, 2016. The more comments the state receives, the more seriously they will consider kudos, concerns and recommendations.

2) Provide input to OCFS about the questions asked in the Market Rate Survey, how data is collected and analyzed. Our contracts with NYS / OCFS provide the opportunity for CSEA to discuss and make recommendations on the Market Rate Survey. The new Child Care Development Block Grant law requires that states submit plan every 3 (instead of 2) years. Though we expect that new Market Rates will not be released until 2017, we will begin to work on this now.

3) Work with our members to make sure that providers have the tools to calculate what it costs to deliver quality child care. We will provide (at no cost), Cost of Doing Business Training – (based on Tom Copeland’s resources) leading up to the next Market Rate Survey (likely 2017).

4) Work to get more $$ in next year’s state budget – a lot more $$. We need to all work together to mobilize parents, friends, neighbors and ourselves to make this happen.


Submit comments to:
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
52 Washington Street, Room 305 South
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Fax: (518) 486-7550
E-mail: info@ocfs.ny.gov