CAPS is funded by the federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). The CAPS funding model is composed of three main cost factors: a base rate, a family fee, and Quality Rated tiered reimbursement.
Base Rate: The base rate is the lesser amount between a child care provider’s published rate and the state maximum reimbursement rate. The state maximum reimbursement rate is based on the location where care is provided, the type of child care provider selected by the family, the age of the child, and the type of care being provided (full time, part-time).
Family Fee: Each family is responsible for paying a fee on a weekly basis directly to the child care provider. The assessed fee is based on family size and income for all children in care. The family fee is waived for some populations.
Effective May 17, 2021, DECAL began a new initiative for CAPS families called ACCESS (Awarding Child Care Education Scholarship Supplements). This initiative is funded by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA). The purpose of ACCESS is to temporarily support CAPS families by paying 100% of their child care tuition costs. Through ACCESS, DECAL will pay the provider their full published rate for the type of care provided, including the family fee. This means that CAPS families will not pay their child care provider any tuition related fees or co-payments for child care. ACCESS initiative payments supplement the published CAPS reimbursement rates. Maximum reimbursement rates can be found in CAPS Policy Appendix C.
Quality Rated Tiered Reimbursement: Tiered reimbursement refers to a bonus awarded to programs that have achieved a Quality Rated star rating and provide child care for families participating in CAPS. The bonus is a percentage added to the state subsidy payments based on the program’s star rating: one, two, or three stars. The percentage is calculated on the net CAPS reimbursement due to the provider (base rate minus the assessed family fee).
Effective November 1, 2021, DECAL increased the Quality Rated tiered reimbursement payments by 15 percentage points per star level. This means programs will receive a 25% bonus for one star, a 35% bonus for two stars, and a 55% bonus for three stars. For the first time ever, child care programs in CAPS/QR Provisional or Probationary status who are in the process of achieving a star rating will receive a 15% increase from current CAPS base rates to support their efforts to increase quality and successfully achieve a star rating. This temporary increase in tiered bonus payments is funded through federal funding received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) and is in effect until September 29, 2024.
Provider Rate: A child care provider’s published rate may be higher than the state maximum reimbursement rate. Any amount charged by the child care provider above what is authorized to be paid on the child care scholarship may be charged to the family. Through federal funding received through the CRRSA, these costs are being paid by CAPS, and families are not required to pay any tuition related fees under the ACCESS initiative.