Announcement ELRC 22 02

Page 1 of Announcement ELRC 22-02Subject: Child Care Technology Access Award

To:

  • All Department of Human Services (DHS) Certified Child Care Providers;
  • Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs);
  • The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL)
  • Early Learning Resource Center (ELRC) Program Representatives;
  • OCDEL Certification staff; and
  • Pennsylvania (PA) Key Staff

From: 

Tracey Campanini
Deputy Secretary, Office of Child Development & Early Learning

Issue Date: Apr. 20, 2022
Effective Date: Apr. 20, 2022
End Date: Jun. 30, 2022

View full announcement as a PDF. >

Purpose

To announce the Child Care Technology Access Award for the purchase of certain identified tools aimed at increasing technology access and supporting business practices and enhance classroom activities. The Child Care Technology Access Award will allow eligible DHS certified child care providers to choose technology tools from the pre-determined list.

Background

Results from an OCDEL survey conducted in 2021 indicated a large number of Department of Human Services (DHS) certified child care providers lack reliable and efficient internet access, technology tools, and respective technology skills. The COVID19 pandemic has further highlighted the need for DHS certified child care providers to have the necessary technology and skills to support their business practices and enhance classroom activities.

Discussion

In order to provide needed technology assistance, OCDEL, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Key (PA Key), is providing the opportunity for eligible DHS certified child care providers to order certain technology tools. The Child Care Technology Access Award will utilize available federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act (CRRSA) funding. This one-time award will provide much needed technology access to further support child care businesses.

Child Care Technology Access Award Eligibility Requirements

All eligible DHS certified child care providers, regardless of Keystone STAR Level, who
are in need of technology tools can apply for this one-time award.

To be eligible, a DHS certified childcare programs must meet the following requirements at the time an application is submitted and at time of final approval:

  • DHS certified child care program must be open and available to provide child care or temporarily closed no more than 14 consecutive business days due to
    COVID-19 exposure as outlined in ELRC Announcement 21- #09: and
  • DHS certified child care program must be in good standing with the Bureau of Certification Services and have a regular or provisional Certificate of Compliance (CoC); and
  • DHS certified child care program’s Certificate of Compliance is not in a Revocation or Refuse to Renew status with the Bureau of Certification Services, and
  • DHS certified child care program must not be, at the time of application, under investigation by the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) for fraud or previously convicted of fraud.

DHS certified child care programs who wish to apply for the Child Care Technology Access Award will be required to designate an authorized representative to complete and electronically sign an online Attestation Form prior to placing an order.

Child Care Technology Access Award Amounts

This funding opportunity will be awarded in the form of a voucher eligible recipients will use to order approved materials from the Kaplan Learning Company. The award amount is based on the eligible DHS certified child care program’s provider type and licensed capacity. The following chart details the amount of funding available depending on program type and licensed capacity:

Maximum Purchase Amounts

Provider Type Program Size/Licensed Capacity Amount
Family Child Care Home N/A $2,500
Group Child Care Home N/A $2,500
School Age Only Center N/A $2,500
Child Care Center (Small) Capacity 50 or fewer $3,500
Child Care Center (Medium) Capacity 51 to 149 $4,500
Child Care Center (Large) Capacity 150 or higher $5,500

Eligible DHS certified child care programs may select technology tools that total to their maximum award amount. In addition, eligible programs will be able to purchase items that exceed their award amount limit at their own expense.

NOTE: Shipping and handling charges will be included in the price of the items. Because taxes can sometimes vary between counties and cities, they will be calculated at the time of the order presented in the checkout and deducted against the total maximum award to ensure the eligible program does not go over their award amount without knowing.

Technology Tools Available Through the Child Care Technology Access Award:

The following is a list of technology tools that eligible DHS certified child care programs can order through the award:

  • Accounting software
  • Headsets and Headphones
  • Laptop Computers
  • Office software
  • Portable Scanners
  • Printer/Scanners
  • Smaller items including printer ink and batteries
  • Tablets
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Web Cams
  • Wi-fi Access Point
  • Wi-fi Extenders
  • Wireless Routers

Applying for the Child Care Technology Access Award

DHS certified child care programs, identified by OCDEL as meeting the eligibility criteria, will be notified of their ability to apply for the Child Care Technology Access Award through an email from Kaplan Learning Company. An email will be sent to the contact listed in Provider Self Service Portal (PSS), on the Location Page. The email will contain instructions for accessing Kaplan’s online ordering portal and will include the DHS certified child care program’s specific log-in credentials.

Kaplan will begin sending emails to eligible DHS certified child care programs starting April 20, 2022. DHS certified child care programs who feel they are eligible but have not received an email from info@kaplanco.com, should first check their spam/junk email inboxes to make sure the email did not get sent there. If upon checking those inboxes, the email from Kaplan has not been received, programs should contact Kaplan at 1-800-334-2014.

To inquire about eligibility status, email OCDEL at RA-ocdelsubchildcare@pa.gov.

Child Care Technology Access Award Ordering Information

  1. Beginning April 20, 2022, eligible DHS certified child care programs will receive an email from Kaplan Early Learning Company, specifically from info@kaplanco.com, that will include:
    • Individual login credentials to access the Technology Access Program
      ordering portal;
    • Ordering instructions and methods of obtaining additional support from Kaplan (via a toll-free number, live chat, and/or email); and
  2. Information in Spanish including a Spanish version of the Kaplan online ordering portal.
  3. Kaplan’s Early Learning ordering portal supports the following web browsers:
    • Chrome
    • Firefox
    • Edge
    • Safari
    • Internet Explorer
  4. DHS certified child care programs should place their order as soon as possible and within 30 days of receiving the email from Kaplan.
  5. Each location of a DHS certified child care program may place only one (1) order to use their Child Care Technology Access Award funds. Any remaining funds for which the program was eligible and were not used in that order are forfeited at the time the order is placed. DHS certified child care programs will not be able to place a second order through the portal.
  6. The person placing the order must be an authorized representative of the DHS certified child care program (such as an owner, director, administrator, etc.).
  7. DHS certified programs who choose to place an order that exceeds their maximum award amount may do so by providing an additional payment method
    for the amount above their award amount at time of check out.
  8. The award is on a first-come, first serve basis. All award funds are contingent upon the availability of federal funds.
  9. Legal entities (LE) with multiple locations will need to handle ordering for their locations internally. Individual locations of an LE may receive an email with their log-in credentials. It will be up to the LE to manage ordering for their locations which might involve obtaining each location’s invitation to order emails with their unique log-in credentials.

Monitoring of Child Care Technology Access Award

Child Care Technology Access Award will be monitored by OCDEL, and programs may be asked to supply additional details regarding how the technology is being used. DHS certified child care programs must agree to comply with any potential audits to verify the accuracy of the information provided at the time of order.

Additional Child Care Technology Access Award Information

If a DHS certified child care provider’s owner/operator/director chooses not to participate in this award process, individual employees cannot apply on behalf of the DHS certified child care program.

Support for DHS Certified Child Care Programs

DHS certified child care programs who require additional support in the ordering process or have general questions should be directed to the following:

  1. For general help in placing an order on Kaplan’s online ordering portal, programs should contact Kaplan using the toll free number of 1-800-334-2014 or email address of info@kaplanco.com.
  2. For general questions related to eligibility, providers should contact OCDEL at RA-ocdelsubchildcare@pa.gov.

Next Steps

DHS certified child care providers:

  1. Prior to April 15, 2022, visit Provider Self-Service (PSS) and confirm that their contact information is up to date as soon as possible. Specifically, visit the Location Profile Page tab in PSS and ensure that all Location Information is accurate paying special attention to the Email Address field. For help with PSS, providers should contact the PELICAN Provider Help Desk via phone 1-877.491.3818 (select option #2 twice) or email ra-eln@pa.gov.
  2. Expect to receive an email from info@kaplanco.com beginning April 20, 2022. Providers who have not received the email from info@kaplanco.com, should first check their Spam and/or Junk folders as the email may be diverted to one of these inboxes. If upon checking all inboxes, the email from Kaplan has not been received, the program should call Kaplan at 1-800-334-2014 or email OCDEL at RA-ocdelsubchildcare@pa.gov to inquire about their eligibility status.
  3. Upon receipt of the Kaplan email, providers should access Kaplan’s ordering portal using their unique log-in credentials.
  4. For general help in placing an order on Kaplan’s online ordering portal, programs should
    • Call Kaplan at 1-800-334-2014 (toll-free);
    • Email info@kaplanco.com; or
    • Call the Pennsylvania Key at 1-800-284-6031.
  5. For general questions related to eligibility, providers should contact OCDEL at RA-ocdelsubchildcare@pa.gov.

Certification Regional Office of Child Development and Early Learning:

  1. Review this information and the FAQ document with relevant staff.
  2. Direct any questions to your Regional Manager.

Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRCs):

  1. Review this information and the FAQ document with relevant staff.
  2. Direct any questions to your program representative.