SS Update - March 2018

Key Highlights This Month:  

Economic Assistance and Employment Supports Division:

 BlueZone SCRIPTS – The Division sent out memos explaining that there have been staff changes and problems with GitHub, the collaborative workspace.

DHS is aware of the deep county commitment to scripts. We recognize the vital role scripts play in making county work more efficient, and we are grateful for counties’ collaboration over the past four years.  Please be reassured that scripts will continue to be utilized, but will be managed differently in the future. The existing MAXIS and PRISM script sets are functioning and reported issues are being tracked. We ask that your staff and your scriptwriting team do not use GitHub to do any script development, modification, or repair at this time.

Meanwhile, if your county is able to test the use of BlueZone version 7.1.5, it has shown promise at two initial counties for running Windows 10 smoothly. Another county has volunteered to test it on a single desktop before moving to the whole county. Our goal is to have 10 counties test and verify that this updated version is as error-free as it has proven so far. If your county is willing and able to install and test 7.1.5—even on a single desktop environment—that will be the next step in our process. Please contact me at: Rebecca.radcliffe@state.mn.us or call 651-431-4409.

 Child Care Assistance Program/CCAP

  • DHS CCAP followed up with counties that did not report death and maltreatment Incidents for 2016 and 2017. DHS will request aggregate numbers each quarter. Beginning January 2018, agencies must track substantiated death, maltreatment and serious injury incidents in unlicensed child care programs that are paid CCAP funds. Agencies are required to track and report incidents for children on CCAP that use a legal nonlicensed provider on-going and license exempt centers until certification is fully implemented.
  •  More in-person training will be offered in March and April across the state. Training is open for sign up on TrainLink. A memo was sent in February to agencies with details.
  • All 2018-2019 County and Tribal Child Care Fund plans have been approved.
  • DHS CCAP continues to work towards full compliance with the federal law. Some changes may require statutory change while others may be implemented administratively. Changes proposed in the 2017 session that did not pass include:

-       implementing an expedited application for homeless families,

-       eliminating the 6 month Portability Pool limit,

-       reducing month requirement for TY receipt to 1 month,

-       extending child age limits to the family’s next redetermination,

-       implementing a $1 Million family asset limit,

-       monitoring unrelated LNL child care providers for health and safety, and;

-       increasing maximum rates.

Requested Actions Needed From MACSSA:  

  • DHS continues to work with a group of county and tribal stakeholders on the processes and procedures related to changes for LNL child care providers. This group convened in 2015 and has provided on-going feedback in the policy development process.
  • DHS is drafting Minnesota’s 2019-2021 Federal CCDF plan. Public hearings to discuss Minnesota’s draft plan will be held on April 23 (daytime) and April 25 (evening) and a public comment period will follow. More details will be available on the DHS website soon. People who want to be involved and to receive regular updates can send an email to CCDFReform@state.mn.us and ask to be added to the list serve.
  • DHS CCAP has begun planning to roll out Phase 4 – 2017 legislative changes related to program integrity. A memo informing agencies of preliminary implementation of Phase 4 changes was sent in early March. These changes limit payments:

-       to centers who care for more than 25 children of center employees and

-       to providers designated as a secondary provider

New Trends in This Area:  

Issues/Concerns Regarding This Topic:  

Legislative Impacts:  

Child Support Division:

The federal budget bill changed the fee charged on cases that were never public assistance from $25 after $500 was collected in the FFY to $35 after $550 is collected in the FFY.  Minnesota’s statute 518A.51 need to be changed.  If the statute is not updated Minnesota stands to lose approximately $400,000 in the FFY.  Most likely that loss will mean a loss of $400,000 that is currently paid to counties in the form of incentives. If the Minnesota statute is changed to match the federal statute, then there would likely be an increase to the amount counties receive in the form of incentives.

Bills of interest:
HF3197-parenting classes for MFIP participants

HF3613- Pa programs

HF2725-County operated IT

SF3205- CCA

Supporting Materials:  

Economic Assistance and Employment Supports Division:

Clarification on sanctions in MFIP for women giving birth.  You will see a bulletin released very soon clarifying that women receiving assistance through MFIP or DWP should not be sanctioned in the month they give birth or the two months following.  This should be treated as a presumed (but temporary) medical disability under good cause.  Medical opinion forms or doctors’ statements should not be required of the new mothers. The bulletin lays out more detailed instructions.

Child Care Assistance:

See Bulletin # 17-68-19 for changes that took effect September 25, 2017:  Federal and State Changes to the Child Care Assistance Program – Phase 1

See Bulletin # 17-68-22 for changes that took effect October 23, 2017: Federal and State Changes to the Child Care Assistance Program - Phase 2

See Bulletin # 17-68-26 for changes that took effect December 18, 2017: Federal and State Changes to the Child Care Assistance Program - Phase 3

This spreadsheet, 2017 Incentive for FAF and next year estimates, shows the potential impact to counties if the statute is updated and if the statute is not updated.



Barb Dahl and Brad Thiel

Shaneen Moore, Deborah Schlick, Casey White, Katie Heffernan, Tara Borton,

Kari Ouimette Eric Ratzmann, Erin Hansen and Tris Skophammer

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