May 1, 2020 UPDATE
Important Update: Essential Child Care Provider Payments Up To Date!
First Service Period Invoice Processing Completed; Additional Grants for COVID-19 Operations Disbursed
Since the essential personnel child care program was established by Governor Hogan's executive order on March 30, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) early childhood team has worked together with 3,700 child care providers to provide care for 24,860 children across the State during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. In that time, MSDE, working closely with State partners, has processed invoices for the first service period, as well as two grant payments to each provider. This week alone, MSDE disbursed more than $29 million to Maryland’s child care providers. With current program enhancements, as second period invoices arrive and are processed, MSDE anticipates the timeline of invoice receipt to payment to be 5-7 days.
“While MSDE did its best in this unprecedented situation, we know that we can do better. Working together, with our providers, our early childhood team worked around the clock to deliver $29 million in payments to our providers this week alone. This monumental effort completed the first round of invoice processing, and brings us up to date,” said Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools. “Over the last month, we not only established this new program from the ground up, we also honed our payment process to deliver the support, timely payment and service that our child care providers deserve.”
In addition to receiving payment for invoiced child care covering the first service period, March 30 – April 12, each essential child care provider received a grant of $800 (family care providers) or $1600 (child care center providers) for initial COVID-19 sanitization materials and supplies. A subsequent grant for continued COVID-19 operating costs in the amount of $2000 was also disbursed this week.
MSDE identified administrative processing improvements, doubled the processing staff, and reassigned staff to customer service roles. These enhancements will expedite the payment process moving forward. Any invoices requiring follow-up are being carefully prioritized and addressed by the MSDE team.
“We appreciate the input of our providers and are instituting a number of strategies to enhance communications and ensure consistent, clear and frequent messaging,” said Dr. Salmon. “Again, we thank our child care providers for their service, fortitude and patience, as well as our State partners at the Comptroller’s Office who worked side by side with us to expedite payments.”
Providers with questions are encouraged to direct all questions about invoices and amounts to MSDE through this
Google Assistance Form, which allows specialists to prioritize and research your inquiry or by phone at one of these numbers:
Lines will be staffed M-F between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
APRIL 24, 2020 UPDATE
Special Message to: Maryland’s Child Care Providers
By: Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools
The Maryland State Department of Education wishes to extend its sincere thanks to our state's child care providers, who have responded to the COVID-19 crisis by delivering exceptional care to the children of health care providers, police, fire and rescue personnel, and so many other first responders and essential personnel.
Since this program was established by Governor Hogan's executive order on March 30, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has worked diligently to build an administrative framework to ensure these services are delivered by appropriate providers, that they are delivered in accordance with the standards that Maryland families deserve, and to provide seamless, prompt payment to our providers. In addition to processing these payments, MSDE is also issuing immediate grant payments in the amount of $2000, which essential care providers will receive by the end of next week.
On Tuesday, April 21, my MSDE leadership team reached out to the Comptroller of Maryland's General Accounting Division (GAD) to coordinate the process of issuing prompt and accurate payments. The Comptroller's Office, as has always been the case on matters such as this, has been exceptionally responsive, providing us with all of the information we need to authorize reimbursements.
In response to regrettable misinformation that has made its way to social media, accusing the Maryland Comptroller's Office of delaying the issuance of provider payments, I wish to reiterate that this is simply, positively untrue. It is my understanding that they stand ready and willing to process and disburse payments on the same day they receive our vendor files. We will ensure that the Comptroller's Office receives this information today.
Again, we regret that the Comptroller's role in this process has been mischaracterized, and we remain deeply grateful to our providers who are doing so much to ease the burden on our state's essential workers.
There are three ways to contact us:
Google Assistance Form
3. Call us at one of these numbers. Lines will be staffed M-F between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D.,
State Superintendent of Schools
APRIL 21, 2020 UPDATE
Message to Maryland’s Child Care Providers
By: Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D., State Superintendent of Schools
On behalf of the Maryland State Department of Education, I want to thank Maryland’s child care providers, teachers and staff who have agreed to deliver services for those essential persons and first responders on the front lines combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize the financial and health risks you are taking to help stop the spread of the virus and save lives. Without you, doctors and nurses could not treat patients, paramedics could not respond to emergencies, law enforcement officers could not maintain order, grocery store clerks could not stock shelves with necessities, and drivers could not deliver supplies. Child care providers are the foundation of Maryland’s pandemic mitigation and recovery efforts, and we are grateful to you.
We understand there are many questions about the current invoicing and payment process. MSDE continues to process payments for 2,880 child care providers participating in the Child Care Scholarship (CCS) program based on child enrollment, not attendance. For those child care providers who have stepped forward and agreed to provide child care through the Essential Personnel Child Care (EPCC) or the Essential Persons School Age (EPSA) programs, we are working with our CCS vendor to process invoices as quickly possible while ensuring CCS payments are also processed. To meet the challenge, the CCS vendor has doubled its invoice processing team to 50 persons strong. MSDE’s team is working tirelessly side-by-side with our vendor to verify and expedite all payments and apologize for any delays some may be experiencing. MSDE will continue to work to ensure child care providers have the financial and other resources needed to thrive. If you have any questions, please contact us through this
invoice assistance google form.
Our state’s child care providers will be vital to our recovery efforts and the reestablishment of a strong and thriving economy. MSDE is evaluating ways in which the $45 million in Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding can be used to support child care or essential persons and assist child care providers once the state of emergency is lifted.
Thank you for keeping Maryland’s children safe and healthy every day.
MARCH 26, 2020 UPDATE
All Child Care Providers to be Closed by the end of the day Friday, March 27th Except Those Serving Essential Personnel
Beginning at the end of the day on Friday, March 27, 2020, all child care programs are to be closed.
During this State of Emergency, child care programs have been established by the State to serve only designated essential personnel.
These programs are at no cost to designated essential personnel. Eligible programs may be found on the MSDE website at earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org or by using the LOCATE: Child Care resource, a telephone service that is available by phone Monday - Friday at 877-261-0060 between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM.
Please see the list of designated essential personnel identified in the Governor’s March 25, 2020 Executive Order.
The children of essential personnel attending the State-funded child care programs will be kept at an appropriate distance from each other with ratios of one teacher to nine children and smaller class sizes for younger children.
Parents/guardians are strongly urged to keep children at home as the first and best option to protect them from the virus; it should be noted in the
Governor's March 13, 2020 Executive Order, licensing regulations were relaxed to allow for Family, Friend and Neighbor care for five or fewer students.
If closed licensed child care programs are willing to provide child care to children of essential personnel, they may reopen beginning March 30, 2020, with the following requirements:
- Programs must apply with their Regional Licensing Specialists to be approved before they begin serving eligible families.
- These programs may only reopen after a thorough cleaning has been conducted.
- They must only serve the children of essential personnel.
Parents and caregivers of essential personnel may call one of the following numbers for additional information: