When processing childcare applications the need factor of the parent or caretaker must be established. Need factor is the reason a household is requesting child care. The following is a guide to help you determine if a need factor is being met.
Explanation of Allowable Child Care Need Factors
- Employment / Self-employment
- Employed and self-employed individuals are eligible to receive child care benefits as long as they are earning wages equal to the federal minimum wage. However, individuals that are newly self-employed (less than a year) who are not initially meeting the minimum wage requirement can be given until their next renewal to increase their earnings.
- Sleep Time
- Child care can be approved during the day for parent or caretaker to sleep, if his or her work hours fall between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. when the parent or caretaker has alternate child care arrangements during his or her work hours. The maximum time allowed is eight hours plus travel time to and from the child care facility. In two parent or caretaker households, sleep time is only approved when both are employed.
- Individuals enrolled in a program that leads to certification, licensure, or accreditation can be approved for child care. The training program must qualify to receive federal financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education. The training program must require actual classroom attendance with an instructor present to qualify.
- Education Program
- Clients attending high school, a General Education Development (GED), Adult Basic Education (ABE) or English as a Second Language (ESL) can be approved for child care. Formal education programs that lead to associates and bachelor degrees are also considered approved need factors for child care. Child care can only be approved for the hours that the individual is attending class on-site or involved in activities that are required to keep a scholarship.
**Child care remains open during the eligibility period in between school semesters and during breaks.****Child care is not closed in the middle of an eligibility period when the client stops attending or completes their education program. Client must be meeting a need factor at renewal or no further care is approved.**
- SNAP E&T
- Child care may be approved for SNAP E&T program-related assigned activities. The SNAP E&T coordinator confirms with the contracted service provider that the activity is part of the SNAP E&T, assigned start date, and the scheduled days and hours of the activity.**(The SNAP E&T coordinator approves the child care for this need factor.)**
- Child care can be approved for any TANF Work activity outlined on a client’s TANF Work / Personal Responsibility Agreement TW-2 form.
Explanation of Non-Allowable Need Factors
- Post Graduate Education
- Post-graduate education to attend a Master’s or doctoral program is not an allowable need factor for child care.
- Online internet courses
- Online courses are not approved unless the course requires the student to log on at a certain time for a live class session.
- Volunteer Hours & Jury Duty
- Volunteer hours, or jury duty is not an allowable need factor for child care. These types of activities may be approved only if TANF related and outlined on a client’s TW-2 form.
- Non-Degree College Courses
- College classes or training courses that are not a part of a degree or certificate program are not allowable child care need factors.
- Homeschool Student
- Parents who homeschool their children cannot be approved for child care during regular school hours.
- Job Search
- Job search that is not a part of an approved TANF work activity is not allowed.
- Transportation Only
- Child care is never approved to transport a child to school when the parent or caretaker is not meeting a need factor during that time period.
Child Care Need Factors that require referral to Child Care Subsidy Unit
- Protective/Preventive Child Care
- Child care that is used as an early intervention to prevent neglect, abuse, or exploitation of a child may be approved at the county level for an initial 30 days. If the care is needed past 30 days, a request must be submitted to the Child Care Subsidy Unit for approval.
- Child care can be approved to assist children who receive SSI to develop socialization skills to transition into a group setting such as a classroom. This type of child care is based solely on the needs of the child’s condition of disability rather than activities of parents or caretakers. Child care is limited to 2 days a week and requires Child Care Subsidy Unit approval.