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Changes to Policy Regarding Parents/Caretakers Caring for Their Own Children in a Child Care Setting During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • All Regulated Child Care Facilities;
  • Early Learning Resource Centers;
  • OCDEL Early Learning Resource Center Program Representatives;
  • Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) Staff


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

Issue Date: September 1, 2020
Effective Date: September 1, 2020
Sunset Date: September 30, 2021


To explain changes to the policy regarding parents/caretakers caring for their own children in a child care setting during the COVID-19 pandemic-related Proclamation of Disaster Emergency.


Current policy states that Parents/caretakers who are employed at a child care facility can be eligible for Child Care Works (CCW) funding for their children who are enrolled at the facility in which they work as long as the parent/caretaker is not caring for their children for any part of the day, including during breaks and naptime. The intent of the current policy is to ensure CCW funding is not used to pay for a parent/caretaker to care for their own child. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends “If possible, child care classes should include the same group each day, and the same child care providers should remain with the same group each day,” therefore the Office of Child Development and Early Learning is revising this policy temporarily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please review the CDC’s Guidance for Child Care Programs that Remain Open.



For the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic-related Proclamation of Disaster Emergency, the current policy will be revised to allow for parents/caretakers to provide care for their own children in a child care facility. The revised policy allows a parent/caretaker who is a teacher, assistant teacher or aide in a classroom, at the same child care facility where their children are enrolled, to have their children in their classroom. This allows the parent/caretaker to receive subsidized child care payment for their children as long as there is another paid teacher, assistant teacher or aide present in the classroom for the majority of the day. In addition, there must be at least one other child in the classroom, that is not the child of the parent/caretaker, for which the parent/caretaker is caring for. 

NOTE: This temporary change in policy does not apply to a parent/caretaker that is an owner, operator or director of a child care facility. As specified in § 3041.16 (relating to subsidy limitations), if a parent or caretaker is the operator of a child day care center, group child day care home or family child day care home as specified in Chapter 3270, Chapter 3280 or Chapter 3290 (relating to child day care centers; group child day care homes; and family child day care homes) or is the operator of a home that is exempt from certification or registration under section 1070 of the Public Welfare Code (62 P. S. § 1070), and if space is available to enroll the parent’s or caretaker’s child at the facility operated by the parent or caretaker, that child is not eligible to receive subsidized child care. 

This is a temporary change in policy, so the Provider Agreement will not have to be updated to reflect this change. However, the following statement included in the Provider Agreement is obsolete until further notice. 

“If the provider employs a subsidy parent or caretaker, provider must ensure that the parent or caretaker/employee is not paid to care for their own subsidized child(ren). This means the parent or caretaker/employee may not be assigned to their child’s classroom and they may not be assigned to supervise their child(ren) during evening and/or nighttime hours. If this occurs, the daily rate paid for the employee’s child(ren) while the employee watches their child will be considered an overpayment. This may result in a referral to the OSIG for fraud investigation”

Next Steps

  1. Child care programs 
    • Review and share with appropriate staff. 
    • Please direct any questions to your ELRC. 
  2. The ELRC 
    • Review and share with appropriate staff. 
    • Please direct any question to your program representative. 


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