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Minnesota Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) Policy Manual
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9.15.15 Special Needs

ISSUE DATE: 12/2017

Children over age 12

Children who are ages 13 through age 14 who have special needs may receive child care assistance. Documentation of the special needs such as an IEP or medical/psychological evaluation must be submitted and kept in the county/tribal CCAP case file in order for CCAP to be approved. Refer to the MEC² User Manual for instructions on approving CCAP eligibility for children over the age of 12.

If a payment rate that exceeds the county maximum school age rate is requested by the parent or provider, follow instructions in this section to request special needs rates. Department of Human Services (DHS) approval is not required if the family and provider do not request a payment rate that exceeds the county maximum school age rate.

Special needs rates

Pay a special needs rate to a provider for the care of a child who has special needs due to a disability requiring specialized training, services or environmental adaptations. The parent and the provider must request a special needs rate and the rate must be approved by DHS. The county or tribe may pay special needs rates for a child with a documented special need through the child’s 14th year of age.

A disability is a functional limitation or health condition that interferes with a child’s ability to walk, talk, see, hear, breathe or learn. A special need may be any special medical, developmental and/or atypical behavior or condition that requires additional support to help the child successfully grow and develop to his or her full potential.

Special needs payments may exceed your county’s maximum rate, but must never be greater than what the provider charges the private sector for the same services. It is the provider’s responsibility to assure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

A special needs rate may be requested/approved when:

  • · The provider charges more for a child with special needs.
  • OR
  • · The provider spreads the cost of caring for a child with special needs across all children in care. You may only pay the higher rate for the child with special needs. Do not exceed your agency’s maximum rate for all other CCAP children in care
  • Explore other funding sources within your region for specialized services or environmental adaptations to ensure parents are linked to important community services, and that child care funds do not supplant other resources. CCAP eligibility for a child with special needs is not contingent upon parental participation or eligibility in other support programs (for example, SSI).

    For an individual child with special needs

    Reimburse providers for the care of individual children with disabilities or special needs at a special rate, if approved by DHS. Take the following steps to establish or request renewal of a special needs rate::

  • 1. Ask the parent and provider to complete the CCAP Special Needs Rate Variance Request – Parent and Provider Request DHS-4194 (PDF) together and to ensure that documentation of the child’s special needs is included.
  • 2. Complete the CCAP Special Needs Rate Variance Request – County Recommendation Form DHS-4195 (PDF) recommending approval or denial of the request. When determining whether to recommend approval or denial of the request, the agency should review the Parent and Provider Request to determine if the provider is providing additional services to meet the needs of the child. Remember each child’s special needs may have variations of what may be defined in a diagnosis, and various degrees of severity in a diagnosis. The adaptations and services provided must reflect the personalized needs of the child.
  • 3. Submit the Parent and Provider Request form, documentation of the child’s special needs, and County Recommendation form to DHS, Child Care Assistance Program, PO Box 64962, St. Paul, MN 55164-0962, or by fax to: 651-431-7483.
  • The agency will receive a letter indicating whether the request was approved or denied. If approved, DHS will determine the rate(s) to approve, based on a process used by DHS. The rate(s) approved may be lower than the rate(s) requested. Pay the approved special needs rate retroactive to the effective date of approval on the official letter from DHS.

    The agency must notify the provider and the parent of the decision in writing and keep a copy of the official letter from DHS and the letter(s) sent to the provider and parent in the CCAP file. If approved, include the reasons for approval and any requirement or suggestions listed on the official letter sent by DHS in the agency letter sent to the provider and parent. If denied, include the reasons for denial listed on the official letter from DHS and notify the parent of the right to appeal.

    When the agency has received the approval or denial letter from DHS, a resource and referral document may also be included. Based on the information submitted, DHS is suggesting that the child could benefit from one or more of the services or resources checked on the document. When notifying the parent and provider of the approval or denial, agencies should also send a copy of the resource and referral document.

    For children in the at-risk population

    Your agency may also choose to pay special needs rates to certain populations defined as at-risk in your County and Tribal Child Care Fund Plan. The agency must have DHS approval for these rates to be paid. At-risk means environmental or familial factors exist that create barriers to a child’s optimal achievement. This could include, but is not limited to:

  • · A federal or state disaster.
  • · Limited English proficiency in a family.
  • · History of abuse or neglect.
  • · A determination that the children are at risk of abuse or neglect.
  • · Family Violence.
  • · Homelessness.
  • · Age of the mother.
  • · Level of maternal education.
  • · Mental illness.
  • · Development disability.
  • · Parental chemical dependency or history of other substance use.
  • If your agency has chosen to pay special needs rates to certain populations defined as at-risk in your County and Tribal Child Care Fund Plan:

  • · If there are four or more providers offering child care for children in a specific at-risk category, pay the lesser of the 75% rate, the rate negotiated with the provider by the county or tribe, or the provider’s rate.
  • · If there are fewer than four such providers, pay the lesser of the rate negotiated with the provider or the provider’s rate.
  • For sick children

    If your agency pays the family’s regular provider for an absent day when the provider caring for the sick child is also being paid, this optional policy must be identified and approved in your County and Tribal Child Care Fund Plan. See Chapter 9.15.18 (Care for sick children) for additional information.


    For additional information and resources for children with special needs contact:

    Center for Inclusive Child Care

    National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities
    (651) 603-6265
    P.O. Box 1492
    Washington, DC 20013-1492
    1-800-695-0285 (Voice/TTY)

    U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section
    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Information
    1-800-514-0301 (Voice)
    1-800-514-0383 (TDD)

    For examples of ADA Information Available see:

    Legal authority

    Minnesota Statutes 119B.13
    Minnesota Rules 3400.0130
    Minnesota Rules 3400.0020

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