In a recent announcement by the Georgia government, the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) is updating its Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program policies and ending the Emergency CAPS Family Fee Policy Waiver.
This policy change will affect all the families enrolled in the CAPS program and childcare care providers in the state. In the past when the United States was severely impacted by Covid-19, DECAL waived certain Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) policies to provide financial support to families and childcare providers.
Now the COVID-19 pandemic has almost ended so Government again decided to apply the CAPS fee that were waived to support those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Extending ACCESS Initiative
This news was shared by Governor Brian P. Kemp and DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs with all families who are getting the CAPS program benefits.
In a letter issued on September 25, 2023, Governor Brian P. Kemp said
I am writing to remind you that we are extending ACCESS (Awarding Child Care Education Scholarship Supplements) through September 29, 2024, BUT we are ending the emergency CAPS family fee policy waiver and reinstating the family fee effective October 2, 2023. These changes to the emergency policy waivers were initially shared with you in letters dated May 8, 2023, and August 31, 2023.Governor Brian P. Kemp
Related article, How to Renew Georgia CAPS program?
End of Emergency Family Fee Policy Waiver
The main highlight of the notice shared with CAPS Family members is the discontinuation of the emergency CAPS family fee policy waiver, effective October 2, 2023. Now all families will have the required family fee as they were doing before the COVID-19 pandemic. All the important information has already been shared with family members through letters sent on May 8, 2023, and August 31, 2023.
To find out the information about that required family, families participating in the CAPS program can check in the CAPS scholarship.
4.3% increment in childcare providers’ published rates:
Another major development is the 4.3% increment in the childcare providers’ published rates used to calculate ACCESS payments. It will be applied in January 2024. This increment will have no effect on Family members receiving CAPS program benefits.
The temporary suspension of provider rate changes will continue through September 29, 2024. During this time, the increase in payment to providers will be covered by ACCESS, while families will be responsible for their CAPS family fee.
Changes in Provider Tuition Rates and CAPS Policy:
All providers who are involved in the CAPS program are prohibited from changing their tuition rates for families enrolled in the program. Increased 4.3% rates will not be applicable during the ACCESS program extension until 29 September 2024.
For more information, Families can visit the CAPS website and find information about the CAPS program and ACCESS initiative. After visiting the website, navigate to ACCESS from the menu bar.
Families can also visit the CAPS website update page to view information about the program policies and any recent policy changes. Information about the emergency policy waivers still in effect is also available there.
How to apply for the GA CAPS program?
Georgia CAPS applications can be submitted at the Georgia Gateway portal. We have also shared an article on Food Stamp Application submission. CAPS’s online application process is also similar.
Citizens can follow the below simple steps.
- Visit the Georgia Gateway website through a web browser.
- Login to your account.
- Find a list of applications and select “Child care”.
- Fill out the online application form with the help of on-screen instructions.
- Submit your application and required documents.
- You will also get a call from a CAPS staff member to determine your eligibility.
- will call you to review your application and determine eligibility.
After the submission, your application will be reviewed by CAPS staff and it will take around 30 days to make a final decision on your CAPS application approval.
More information about the Gateway.ga.gov login, registration, and account recovery is available in the linked article.
What is the Family Fee?
Family Fee is the portion of the childcare family assesses fees paid by families enrolled in the childcare services.
The family Fee is based on the percentage of the annual gross income of the family. It is paid for all children directly by the provider. At the time of initial eligibility, the family fee is calculated. It is also re-assessed in case of a change in income status, family size, number of children, etc.
Parents must report any changes to the concerned authority.
Suspension of other Policy Waiver:
In 2022, the Georgia government has already suspended the below Policy Waivers.
- Emergency CAPS eligibility income limit waiver.
- Emergency CAPS state-approved activity policy waiver.
- Alternate methods for recording arrival and departure.
For further information, help, and support, please visit the CAPS official website. Citizens can also call 1-833-4GA-CAPS (1-833-442-2277).
The main objective of this letter shared with CAPS Families is to make them stay informed and prepare to pay the required Family fee. All families must check the official website and go through all the recent updates about the CAPS program.