One of the recommendations of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee's report on Public Benefits Work Supports, completed a few years ago, was that the Department of Human Services address the gap in child care that occurs when a parent who receives SNAP, but not TANF, graduates from a postsecondary education program and gets a job.
A revised Operations Memo was just released by DHS outlining a policy intended to fill a gap in the child care system that CLIP and our colleagues have long been concerned about. For a long time, parents who receive only SNAP, who pursue postsecondary education could get child care through the SNAP program for their education, but when they graduated and got a job, they were no longer eligible for child care through SNAP (SNAP child care is provided only for education and not work). While these parents were eligible for child care through the Low Income Subsidy (LIS) program they inevitably ended up on a long waiting list and had no child care available for their new jobs.
The original policy allowed these parents to be considered in SNAP “retention” status for 3 months after graduating and getting a job, even if they were not in a contracted program. With retention status, DHS was permitted to provide the parent with child care through the SNAP program, with the hope that they would come off the LIS waiting list before the end of the 3 month retention period.
The revised Ops Memo provides that if the SNAP only parent has not come off the LIS waiting list before the end of three months, the Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) (the agency that administers this program) will give the parent special priority and they will be authorized immediately for LIS child care.
This Ops Memo also provides that SNAP only parents can receive special allowances for supportive services (SPALs) for such things as transportation during their 90 day retention period.