B-400: Priority for Child Care Services

Section 98.46(a) of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) regulations requires that states give priority of services to the following:

  • Children of families with very low income
  • Children with special needs, which may include any vulnerable populations as defined by the lead agency
  • Children experiencing homelessness

Consistent with the CCDF regulations, the first priority group consists of children residing in families with very low income. The second priority group consists of children with special needs, including children experiencing homelessness.

Boards must be aware that, except for child care services funded by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) and described in B-402.a, the priority groups in this section are for child care services funded through CCDF, which include:

  • Funds allocated to Boards under §800.58
  • Private donated funds as described in Part C of this guide
  • Public transferred funds as described in Part C of this guide

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B-401: First Priority Group – Mandatory

Workforce Development Boards must ensure that child care services are prioritized as required by federal statutes and Texas Workforce Commission rules.

The first priority group is assured child care services and includes children of parents eligible for the following:

- Rule Reference: §809.43 

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B-402: Second Priority Group – Subject to Availability of Funds

The second priority group is served subject to the availability of funds and includes, in the following order of priority:

  1. Children who need to receive protective services child care as referenced in D-700: Child Care for Children in Protective Services 
  2. Children of a qualified veteran or qualified spouse as defined in Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) rule §801.23
  3. Children of a foster youth as defined in TWC​'s rule §801.23
  4. Children experiencing homelessness as defined in A-100 and described in D-600
  5. Children of parents on military deployment as defined in A-100: Definitions whose parents are unable to enroll in military-funded child care assistance programs
  6. Children of teen parents as defined in A-100: Definitions
  7. Children with disabilities as defined in A-100: Definitions

- Rule Reference: §809.43

B-402.a: Availability of Funds for Protective Services Child Care

Services for children in this priority group are subject to the availability of funds through the DFPS, Child Protective Services, as described in D-700. Boards must ensure that child care services for children in protective services continue as long the services are authorized and funded by DFPS.

Additionally, child care discontinued by DFPS prior to the end of the 12-month eligibility period is subject to the Continuity of Care Provisions described in D-902. DFPS may discontinue care prior to the end of the 12-month eligibility period via an Early Termination or if the referral reaches its end without DFPS issuing a new referral.

B-402.b: Priority for Children of Qualified Veterans and Spouses

Texas Labor Code §302.014 requires that veterans receive priority for training or assistance in job training or employment assistance programs or services. Therefore, pursuant to the Texas Labor Code, children of a qualified veteran or a qualified spouse must be served subject to the availability of Board funds. 

Reference: WD Letter 25-15: Applying Priority of Service and Identifying and Documenting

Eligible Veterans and Transitioning Service Members

B-402.c: Priority for Children of Foster Youth

Texas Family Code §264.121 directs TWC to prioritize and target services to meet the needs of foster youth and former foster youth. Pursuant to the Texas Family Code, Boards must serve children of foster youth subject to the availability of funds, following enrollment of children of qualified veterans and spouses.

B-402.d: Children Experiencing Homelessness

Section 98.46(a)(3) of the CCDF regulations requires states to prioritize services for children experiencing homelessness. Pursuant to CCDF regulations, Boards must serve children experiencing homelessness, subject to the availability of funds, following the enrollment of children of qualified veterans and children of foster youth. 

See D-600 regarding eligibility for children experiencing homelessness.

B-402.e: Children with Special Needs and Vulnerable Populations

Section 98.46(a)(3) of the CCDF regulations requires states to prioritize services for children with special needs, which may include vulnerable populations as defined by the lead agency. The following groups are considered children with special needs and vulnerable populations, and must be served following the enrollment of children of veterans, children of foster youth, and children experiencing homelessness, and are served in the following order of priority:

  1. Children of parents on military deployment whose parents are unable to enroll in military-assistance programs
  2. Children of teen parents
  3. Children with disabilities

B-402.f: Documenting Priority for Children of Parents on Military Deployment

Workforce Development Boards (Boards) must ensure that children of deployed military parents who are not eligible for child care assistance through the military are added to the second priority group and served subject to the availability of funds. 

Boards also must ensure that appropriate staff work within the local community to determine the availability of military-funded child care programs. 

If military-funded child care programs are available in the community or workforce area, Boards must ensure that parents provide documentation of the unavailability of space or denial of care by these programs.  Documentation can include a written statement from the military program; however, Boards must ensure that staff do not accept self-attestation unless no other options are available to the parent.

If military-funded child care programs are not available in the community or workforce area, Boards must ensure that parents are not required to provide documentation of that unavailability during certification or recertification for child care services.

B-402.g: Documenting Priority for Children with Disabilities

Boards must ensure that children with disabilities are added to the second priority group and served, subject to the availability of funds.

Boards also must ensure that disabilities are documented in accordance with local procedures. Acceptable forms of documentation include confirmation of the child’s enrollment in or receipt of benefits from one or more of the following programs:

  • Supplemental Security Income benefits
  • Social Security Disability Insurance benefits
  • Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Early Childhood Intervention program
  • A Head Start program that identified the child as having a disability
  • Public school special education services, including preschool programs for children with disabilities 

In accordance with local procedures, documentation from a qualified health care provider is also acceptable.

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B-403: Third Priority – Board Determined

The third priority group includes any other priority adopted by Workforce Development Boards (Boards).  However, Boards must not establish a priority group based on parent choice of an individual provider or provider type.

- Rule Reference: §809.43

Boards must ensure that children in the first and second priority groups are enrolled before enrolling children from Board-established priority groups.

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Part A - Definitions

Part H - Consumer Education and Child Care Quality Activities

Part J - Appendix