State expands child care rules after school districts close

JEFFERSON CITY - In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Missouri's Department of Social Services and Department of Health and Senior Services have both made policy changes to help with the increased demand of child care.

According to a news release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, licensed child care providers can follow the rules for emergency school closings. These rules will allow providers to expand hours of care, expand their enrollment limit and loosen requirements on record keeping.

Providers can exceed their capacity by 1/3 to accommodate school aged children during the time that emergency school closing rules are in effect.

In addition, DHSS's Section for Child Care Regulation is allowing 45-day licenses to care for pre-school and school aged children. The short term licenses are renewable and facilities must be inspected for both approvals and renewals.

“We recognize that child care is an essential component of fighting COVID-19," said Randall Williams, director of DHSS. "Health care and other emergency medical personnel must have appropriate arrangements for their children to ensure they can provide the health care and other essential services needed by our communities.”

The Missouri Department of Social Services expanded its Child Care Subsidy program in order to assist with child care needs.

“COVID-19 has created additional challenges for low-income Missourians who receive Child Care Subsidy benefits,” said Jennifer Tidball, Acting Director of the Department of Social Services.

The Child Care Subsidy program's benefits as well as provider application renewals have been extended by 90 days. In addition, the program can be used to pay for additional child care hours that are needed due to school closings or a parent's work schedule.

Parents who need assistance with finding child care can contact Child Care Aware of Missouri for free referral services.

Any low-income family, including those already using the Child Care Subsidy, who wish to apply for financial assistance for child care should reach out to the Family Support Division.

Child Care Aware - 1-866-892-3228

Family Support Division - 1-855-FSD-INFO and in person at any Family Support Division Resource Center

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