This page was last updated on June 1, 2020
ChildCareGroup is working with Early Matters Dallas and other community partners to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and we are following the guidance and most current information provided by the City of Dallas, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS), The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other authorities. We are also tracking information being issued by local, state and federal officials that may be helpful to parents and child care providers.
Below are some common questions and answers about COVID-19, impacts on the Child Care Assistance (CCA) subsidy program and Early Head Start/Head Start, and other helpful local, state and national resources. Please note that Child Care Assistance (CCA) follows the guidelines of Workforce Solutions (WFS) and Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), while Early Head Start and Head Start (EHS/HS) follow the guidelines of the Office of Head Start (OHS). The program information and guidance provided below has been instituted on an emergency basis, and is meant to be temporary. This is a fluid situation, so this information may change unexpectedly. Please refer back to this page periodically.
Together with our collaborative partners we are doing our best to provide the most up-to-date information. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding during this challenging time.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is primarily a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a “novel” or new coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. Other coronaviruses cause mild disease like the common cold.
The virus that causes COVID-19 may be passed from an infected person in several ways, including:
• Respiratory droplets released into the air by coughing and sneezing;
• Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands;
• Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands
Most patients with COVID-19 may have no or mild symptoms. Some may develop:
• shortness of breath
If you have not recently travelled to an area with confirmed COVID-19 infections, your risk of infection is extremely low. Should you develop symptoms, it is more likely you have the common cold or Influenza (flu) and you should contact your medical provider for additional guidance.
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
• Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water
• Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
• Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
• Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene; this means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze, then disposing of the used tissue immediately
• Stay home if you feel unwell; if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention; follow the directions of your local health authority
• Keep up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely; if possible, avoid traveling to places—especially if you are an older person, or have diabetes, heart, or lung disease
During a challenging time such as this, it can be difficult to know what to tell your children. PBS has put together a wonderful page on their website that specifically addresses how to talk to your kids about coronavirus.
Child Care Assistance (CCA)-Related Questions
During this time, CCA is operating with social distancing in mind, and has a very limited number of staff at our offices, with others working from remote locations. If you have not already done so, please register an account on our CCA Customer Portal. The Portal has a messaging system, which allows us to communicate with you more easily, so it is important that you keep your phone number and email address updated.
We have created a new page that lists the Open and Closed status of CCA child care providers that can be accessed by clicking here. Please note that while we will make every effort to keep this list updated, this is a very fluid situation, so we recommend that you call a facility before you go.
Many employers are having their staff work from home. You do not have to report this change unless your income has been reduced. You may not take your child to the child care program. S/he needs to be sheltering with you per the Dallas County Order.
Yes, you can and should keep your child home when possible. In fact, we encourage social distancing and families staying home if you have the ability to do that. Absences from March 1st, 2020 forward will be waived and removed from your annual attendance count. The Texas Workforce Commission has not provided guidance as to when this will end. You will be notified via the CCA Customer Portal when absences will start being counted again. If you have not already done so, please click here to register an account on the Portal.
Child Care Licensing has issued guidance to child care programs to reduce and eliminate traffic in and out of the child care program to help reduce the risk to children. They are requiring out front drop off and pick up until further notice. The program should have the Attendance Machine outside for you to use. If not, you may have to sign in an alternate way. Ask the center staff how you are to record that the children attended.
This is considered a temporary change, so you do not need to report it. However, if your income has been reduced, you should go to our web portal and put in a request for us to adjust your parent fee. Click here to do so.
Many employers are having their staff work from home. You do not have to report this change unless your income has been reduced. You may also continue to take your child to child care while you are working.
If you have lost your job permanently and there is no expectation of returning after the crisis, you should report this via the CCA Customer Portal.
The Texas Workforce Commission has approved a temporary Parent Share of Cost relief. Your portion of child care is being waived as of April 1st, 2020. The ongoing need for this will be assessed by the Texas Workforce Commission monthly. You will be notified when it ends.
The Texas Workforce Commission is allowing us to provide recertification extensions if individuals are not able to recertify due to COVID-19. Please log into the CCA Customer Portal and let us know that you need an extension.
A new feature has been added to the CCA Customer Portal to allow you to submit paperwork. After logging in, click on the Upload Documents link from the left-hand navigation menu. A QuickStart Guide to using this feature can be downloaded here. Please be sure the document has your name and Customer ID on each document you are uploading.
For Child Care Providers
Yes. The Texas Workforce Commission has approved payment for facilities that close temporarily. You must report the closure to Child Care Licensing, and then Licensing will report it to the Texas Workforce Commission. Please also report to Licensing when you know you will reopen.
Yes, the Texas Workforce Commission has approved continuing payment for all authorized children.
Child care providers will be paid the full-day rate for school-age children while the ISDs are closed. Children must be at the location for 6 hours or more per day. Providers should submit a list of children attending full day to CCA. Be sure to include the family’s case/TWIST ID number and fax to 214-905-2471.
We still need a record of which children are in attendance daily. This is to help the Texas Workforce Commission track and trend the recovery efforts and forecast future cost. You should:
• Make the attendance machine available outside and ensure that it is protected from outside elements, and
• Plug back in at least once a week by the end of the day on Friday to upload attendance
If this isn’t possible, you may:
• Send in alternate attendance records from your business system (Smartcare, Procare, etc.) or
• Complete the attendance form sent to you in the Message Center of the CCA Customer Portal, and fax it to 214-905-0422 on Friday evening or Monday morning
No, this is considered a temporary change, and services will continue during the emergency.
The Texas Workforce Commission has approved for supplemental payments to cover lost parent fees. This will begin April 1st, 2020.
All face-to-face mentoring visits have been suspended for the safety of the staff and children, however, we can still provide mentoring remotely. Your TRS mentor should be in touch with you on a regular basis.
All site visits for TRS are currently suspended until further notice.
Early Head Start / Head Start-Related Questions
Here you will find information specific to the Early Head Start and Head Start programs operated by ChildCareGroup.
Early Head Start / Head Start
All ChildCareGroup locations follow the schedule of their location’s school districts. As a result, and to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), all ChildCareGroup locations are closed, effective immediately. Our teachers and Family Advocates continue to deliver programming and services to families remotely, and food services are being coordinated through our area schools.
All ChildCareGroup locations are closed until further notice. ChildCareGroup will continue to monitor the status of the community and the recommendations of the CDC and the Dallas County Health and Human Services Department to determine if and when it is safe to re-open.
The ChildCareGroup Family Advocates have developed this Family Home Learning Schedule that you can follow.
Yes, most ISDs are providing meals to students. Find your school district below, and click the link for information, and to view a current list of schools offering grab-and-go meals.
The district will continue to provide meals during the months of June and July. Meals will continue to be distributed every Thursday between 10 am – 1 pm. Each child will receive seven breakfasts, seven lunches, and one supper. For more information please click here.
Or, use the School Meal Finder to locate a school based on your address.
Other Child Care-Related Questions
- KERA has launched this special webpage to help use the collection of free, high-quality educational resources on PBS Learning Media. There are about 60,000 videos, lessons plans, games, activities and other resources for grades PK-12 and all subject areas, and most are aligned to the TEKS and TX PK Guidelines.
- Parents and caregivers can also sign up to receive the Start Smart texting service, which sends several age-appropriate tips a week on child development and early learning in math, literacy and science for kids from birth through age 9. Parents can sign up online at KERA Learn! or by texting LEARN to 274448.
- You can find lots of online storytimes by searching #OperationStorytime in all social media! Here is a list of several virtual storytimes.
- TNTP has also created this list of resources for learning at home, which includes links to several digital libraries and other great learning resources for all grade levels.
For Child Care Providers
Whenever possible, encourage parents to keep kids at home. Instruction from health officials at all levels is that social distancing is a strategy we must all commit to. The best way to weather this crisis and avoid threats to health and life is to stay home as much as possible.
Effective as of 3/16/2020, you must restrict access ONLY to:
• Operation staff
• Persons with legal authority to enter, including law enforcement officers, HHSC
• Child Care Licensing staff and Department of Family and
• Protective Services staff
• Professionals providing services to children
• Children enrolled at the operation
• Parents or legal guardians who have children enrolled and present at the operation
• Parents will also have to pick up and drop off their children outside the facilities, and anyone who enters will have to be screened, including having their temperatures taken.
People will not be able to enter if they meet the following:
• A temperature of 100.4°F or above
• Signs or symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as a cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, and low-grade fever
In the previous 14 days has had contact with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19; is under investigation for COVID-19; or is ill with a respiratory illness; or
• In the previous 14 days has traveled internationally to countries with widespread, sustained community transmission
Source: Texas Health and Human Services
We do not yet have guidance on this question.
Child care facilities must ensure each child is provided individual meals and snacks. Family style meals may NOT be served. No Kid Hungry is providing $1 million in emergency grants to early child care centers to ensure kids have access to the meals they need. If you need funding, please visit the No Kid Hungry website to complete the Coronavirus Grant Request form.
Helpful Resources for Parents and Child Care Providers
ChildCareGroup has a new AtHome video series featuring ideas for educating and interacting with your children using household items. [ADDED April 14, 2020]
Want some at-home learning ideas to do with your children? [ADDED April 7, 2020; UPDATED June 1, 2020]
In support of children, parents and educators across the nation who are learning at home due to COVID-19, Frog Street has launched the Frog Street for Young Learners program for children ages 3-5! [ADDED April 6, 2020]
The American Academy of Pediatrics has multiple resources for parents. [ADDED March 31, 2020]
Rebecca Schrag Hershberg Ph.D. talks about her own family experiences as the mother of a 4- and 6-year old, and provides a bulleted list of concrete, actionable tips on how to navigate life at home as a family during quarantine. [ADDED March 31, 2020]
For Child Care Providers
From Texas AEYC:
Mental Health Resources For Everyone
Tips For Working From Home
Helpful Local, State, and Federal Guidance
From Dallas County: Briefing to commissioners on child care (Added March 27, 2020)
From Parkland Hospital: COVID-19 Key Messages And Talking Points (Added May 13, 2020)
From TWC: Briefing to commissioners on child care
From TWC: Information on Unemployment insurance
From TWC Commission for Child Care & Early Learning:
From Texas Health and Human Services:
Family First Bill: