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119B.061 At-home infant child care program.

Subdivision 1. Establishment. A family in which a parent provides care for the family's infant child may receive a subsidy in lieu of assistance if the family is eligible for, or is receiving assistance under the basic sliding fee program. An eligible family must meet the eligibility factors under section 119B.09, the income criteria under section 119B.12, and the requirements of this section. Subject to federal match and maintenance of effort requirements for the child care and development fund, the commissioner shall establish a pool of up to seven percent of the annual appropriation for the basic sliding fee program to provide assistance under the at-home infant child care program. At the end of a fiscal year, the commissioner may carry forward any unspent funds under this section to the next fiscal year within the same biennium for assistance under the basic sliding fee program.

Subd. 2. Eligible families. A family with an infant under the age of one year is eligible for assistance if:

(1) the family is not receiving MFIP, other cash assistance, or other child care assistance;

(2) the family has not previously received all of the one-year exemption from the work requirement for infant care under the MFIP program;

(3) the family has not previously received a life-long total of 12 months of assistance under this section; and

(4) the family is participating in the basic sliding fee program or provides verification of participation in an authorized activity at the time of application and meets the program requirements.

Subd. 3. Eligible parent. A family is eligible for assistance under this section if one parent cares for the family's infant child. The eligible parent must:

(1) be over the age of 18;

(2) care for the infant full-time in the infant's home; and

(3) care for any other children in the family who are eligible for child care assistance under this chapter.

For the purposes of this section, "parent" means birth parent, adoptive parent, or stepparent.

Subd. 4. Assistance. (a) A family is limited to a lifetime total of 12 months of assistance under this section. The maximum rate of assistance is equal to 75 percent of the rate established under section 119B.13 for care of infants in licensed family child care in the applicant's county of residence. Assistance must be calculated to reflect the parent fee requirement under section 119B.12 for the family's income level and family size.

(b) A participating family must report income and other family changes as specified in the county's plan under section 119B.08, subdivision 3. The family must treat any assistance received under this section as unearned income.

(c) Persons who are admitted to the at-home infant care program retain their position in any basic sliding fee program or on any waiting list attained at the time of admittance. If they are on the waiting list, they must advance as if they had not been admitted to the program. Persons leaving the at-home infant care program re-enter the basic sliding fee program at the position they would have occupied or the waiting list at the position to which they would have advanced. Persons who would have attained eligibility for the basic sliding fee program must be given assistance or advance to the top of the waiting list when they leave the at-home infant care program. Persons admitted to the at-home infant care program who are not on a basic sliding fee waiting list may apply to the basic sliding fee program, and if eligible, be placed on the waiting list.

(d) The time that a family receives assistance under this section must be deducted from the one-year exemption from work requirements under the MFIP program.

(e) Assistance under this section does not establish an employer-employee relationship between any member of the assisted family and the county or state.

Subd. 5. Implementation. (a) The commissioner shall implement the at-home infant child care program under this section through counties that administer the basic sliding fee program under section 119B.03. The commissioner must develop and distribute consumer information on the at-home infant care program to assist parents of infants or expectant parents in making informed child care decisions.

(b) The commissioner shall evaluate this program and report the impact to the legislature by January 1, 2000. The evaluation must include data on the number of families participating in the program; the number of families continuing to pursue employment or education while participating in the program; the average income of families prior to, during, and after participation in the program; family size; and single parent and two-parent status.

HIST: 1997 c 162 art 4 s 22; 1999 c 205 art 1 s 24