DHS Guidance and Resources for Child Care Facilities and Homes during COVID-19

DHS Requirements for Regulated Child Care Facilities and Homes during COVID-19

In accordance with Governor Ige’s  Supplementary Emergency Proclamations authorizing child care facilities to remain open or reopen and pursuant to Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) §§17-891.1-6, 17-892.1-6, 17-896-6, and 17-895-6, DHS requires that all licensed and registered child care facilities and homes establish and follow written policies in line with the published Guidelines for Child Care Facilities updated June 9, 2020 (click here)” (hereinafter “Guidelines”) for reducing exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

The Guidelines, originally released on May 26, 2020, have been updated as of June 9, 2020 with provisions to allow for child care group sizes that and staff-child ratios that adhere to the department’s existing administrative rule chapters 17-891.1, 17-892.1, 17-896, and 17-895 in alignment with Governor Ige’s Supplementary Emergency Proclamations. The Guidelines updated June 9, 2020 continue to include other existing public health measures to minimize risk to children, staff, and families when resuming or continuing operations. Child care facilities and homes statewide are to follow the department’s specific Guidelines rather than the counties’ general guidelines.

These Guidelines have the goal of keeping Hawaii healthy and not increasing Hawaii’s risk of additional cases of COVID-19 as Hawaii continues to reopen.  Should the situation change regarding Hawaii’s overall community health, DHS may need to reinstate the previous measures with limits on group sizes.

The Guidelines were developed based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawaii Department of Health.  These Guidelines are public health measures to minimize risk to children, staff, and families when resuming or continuing child care operations.

COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health threat.  Therefore, every child care facility and home that continues to operate or reopens shall establish and follow written operational policies that address the Guidelines consistent with the Governor’s Supplemental Emergency Proclamation.  Minimizing the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus to children in care is dependent on every facility and home consistently applying these public health practices.  The Guidelines as updated on June 9, 2020 will be in place for a period of time as determined by the State as we continue to make progress in minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaii.  DHS will advise child care facilities and homes when any measures in the Guidelines are modified.

If your child care facility or home has not reopened yet, please contact your child care licensing office to ensure you are meeting the requirements for reopening and receive guidance if needed.

The Economic and Community Recovery Navigator’s website has its “Child Care Health Guidelines” document posted at https://recoverynavigator.hawaii.gov/for-businesses/education-childcare/ under the Plan for Sector Reopening section.  The “Child Care Health Guidelines” document on pages 5-9 includes the same measures as the “Guidelines for Child Care Facilities updated June 9, 2020” as well as additional information, weblinks, and resources to support implementation.

DHS values all that you do for our families and children and recognizes the vital importance of child care for Hawaii’s economic recovery. We have heard your concerns about the significant impact of the earlier requirements for child care groups and worked with the Governor, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, and the Department of Health in assessing the appropriateness for modifications to the Guidelines as Hawaii has continued to remain stable and manageable in its cases as more sectors reopen and as we move toward the Recovery (green) phase of the Roadmap to Recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions for the Guidelines for Child Care Facilities

 Available Contracts for DHS Emergency Child Care Services

The Department of Human Services is pleased to announce this Request for Proposals (RFP) for Emergency Child Care Services.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March 2020 appropriated Hawaii DHS an additional $11.9 million in federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) block grant award.  With these additional federal funds, DHS is entering into contracts to increase safety and protect the health of children in care.  Eligible child care providers who can apply are all licensed and registered child care facilities and homes as well as organizations contracted by the Department of Education (DOE) to operate A+ sites at elementary school campuses.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global public health threat.  Every child care facility and home that continues to operate or reopens is required to establish and follow written operational policies that address the “Guidelines for Child Care Facilities updated June 9, 2020” measures for health and safety consistent with the Governor’s Supplemental Emergency Proclamation.  This RFP is a way to help the State meet the goal of having every child care facility and home meet the standards established in the Guidelines.

Note: Completed application and proposal forms must be received or post-marked by July 31, 2020 at your child care licensing office (or for A+ providers at the DOE A+ Office.]

Note: An original signed contract agreement can be submitted with the completed Application and Proposal, however, DHS will only execute contracts for approved Applications and Proposals.

DHS values all that you do for our families and children and recognizes the vital importance of child care for Hawaii’s economic recovery.  We appreciate your willingness to continue or reopen operations and do your best to ensure the health and safety of the staff and children in your care by minimizing the risk of exposure during this time as Hawaii continues to reopen. We look forward to partnering with you to continue highlighting the importance of child care as part of Hawaii’s economic recovery, while taking the necessary public health measures to minimize the risk of exposure to children, staff, and families.

Temporary Child Care Rates for Child Care Connection Hawaii and Preschool Open Doors

The Department of Human Services is temporarily increasing its child care payment rates dated June 15, 2020, and the temporary rates are effective July 2020 through December 2020. These temporary child care rate changes apply for both the Child Care Connection Hawaii and Preschool Open Doors subsidy programs and are allowed under Governor Ige’s Emergency Supplementary Proclamations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for the temporary child care rates.

List of Licensed and Registered Child Care Statewide

Statewide Child Care Providers – PATCH Directory – click here

Additional Resources for Child Care Providers

Hawaii Economic and Community Recovery Navigator’s resources for child care and Plan for Sector Reopening

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Care FAQs_COVID-19 (rev 5-1-2020)

Interim Guidance for Child Care Administrators from the State of Hawaii Department of Health

Supplemental Guidance for Child Care Programs That Remain Open

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K12 Schools and Child Care Programs

CDC has posted FAQs for K-12 Schools and Child Care Program Administrators re: COVID-19 at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools-faq.html

The CDC has posted information regarding cleaning and disinfection and checklists for schools and childcare programs at the following websites:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/colleges-universities.html

For families who are sheltering in place with their children –

Updates and resources from the Executive Office on Early Learning Amid COVID-19.

Helpful resources from the Executive Office on Early Learning.