School Readiness (SR)
School Readiness (SR) Provider Contracting Process:
The School Readiness (SR) Program is state and federally funded and designed to offer child care financial assistance to low-income families who are working or full time students. The program prepares children to become ready for school, assists families in becoming financially self-sufficient, and provides parents with information about quality early learning and child development.
SR Contracts must now be completed on the Office of Early Learning (OEL) Provider Portal. You can find detailed instructions and helpful video tutorials on the features and use of the portal at the link here. When you are a SR Provider, it is important to know the responsibilities outlined in the Provider Contract and to be up to date on any new regulations. Please review the entire contract to ensure you are in full compliance with all of aspects of the contract.
- Provider can contact the Coalition's Provider Services team about becoming a School Readiness (SR) provider or may request an account in the Office of Early Learning (OEL) Provider Portal.
- Providers that already have OEL Provider Portal accounts can request a SR contract (Form OEL-SR 20 below) in the "contracts" section of the OEL Provider Portal, uploading all required documents.
- Coalition's Provider Services team reviews supporting documentation and certifies School Readiness contract.
- Provider is eligible to accept School Readiness funded enrollments.
Please note that all School Readiness and Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Providers should register in the E-Verify system in order to be eligible for contracting for the upcoming Fiscal Year 2021-2022. Prior to entering into the 2021-2022 contract, each provider will be required to submit the completed Affidavit Concerning Employment of Unauthorized Alien. The notarized form can be uploaded into the Provider Profile Documents section.
In order for contracted providers to get paid for School Readiness funded enrollments, provider must complete the following steps:
- Record attendance online in the Office of Early Learning (OEL) Provider Portal.
- Submit attendance sheet to the Coalition no later than the 3rd Business Day of the month.
- Provider submits any extended absence documentation to Coalition's Reimbursement team.
- Payment is released to providers on the 16th of the month, or the business day prior (if on a holiday or weekend). Providers can select the option of having payment issued via direct deposit by completing the Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Authorization Form.
- Payment reports are available to providers in the OEL Provider Portal under "Attendance" and then "Reimbursement Details" after payment has closed.
- Providers have 60 days after payment reports are issued to report any discrepancies to the Coalition.
Additional SR Provider Required Reporting & Documentation:
Licensed, License-Exempt and School Age Centers/Facilities
Family Child Care Homes
- School Readiness Absence Reporting Requirements:
Per s. 1002.87(8), F.S., if an enrolled child is absent for five (5) consecutive scheduled days with no contact from the parent, then the child care provider must notify the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County by the close of business on the 5th day of absence. To submit the above form or other written notification, please click here to upload electronically via Box.
- Rilya Wilson Act Reporting Requirements:
Per s. 39.604(4)(b)(1), F.S., is a Protective Services child is absent for one (1) day with no contact from the parent or caregiver by the end of the day; or has had seven (7) consecutive excused absences, then the child care provider must notify the Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County by the end of the next business day.
- Documentation of Attendance Policy – Parent Signature on Sign-In/Sign-Out Sheets:
Based on Florida Rules 6M-4.500(1)(c), F.A.C. - Child Attendance and Provider Reimbursements, the Statewide SR Contract and the Statewide VPK Contract: A parent, legal guardian, authorized person (18 years or older) must sign-in and sign-out each child daily. Acquiring these signatures is the responsibility of each child care provider, to also include specific time for sign-in and sign-out for each date of care.
- "Unusual Incident" Reporting:
Per Paragraph 80 of the School Readiness agreement/contract and Paragraph 65 of the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) agreement/contract, providers must "report unusual incidents to the Coalition by no later than the close of business on the next business day of the unusual incident and to submit a written report to the Coalition within three (3) business days from the date of the incident. For licensed providers, sending a copy of the incident report submitted for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to the Coalition shall constitute compliance with this [requirement]."
According to the above mentioned agreements/contracts, an "unusual incident" is described as an event involving the health and safety of a child while in the provider's care and/or any incident that may cause a disruption in the provider's operation. Specific examples include "accusations of abuse or neglect against the provider or provider's staff; the injury of a child which requires professional medical attention at the provider's site or written notification from the child's parent that the child received professional medical attention; and when a provider receives notice of litigation where the provider is named party or defendant and which relates to the provider's operation at any location at which [School Readiness, VPK, and/or CSC Scholarship] services are being provided."
- Developmental Screening:
Based on Florida Rules 6M-4.720(2)(b), every School Readiness (SR) child must be screened, using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), within 45-days of enrollment. The ASQ-3 is the specific version of the tool utilized by ELCPBC, in addition to the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ-SE). Both, the ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE, are parent-completed screening tools. The ASQ-3 assists in tracking each child’s development in the areas of communication, gross motor, fine motor, problem solving, and personal-social. The ASQ-SE assists in tracking each child’s social-emotional development in the areas of self-regulation, compliance, social-communication, adaptive functioning, autonomy, affect, and interaction with people. See our Provider Child Development page for more information on our Developmental Screening department.
- Staff to Child Ratios:
All providers caring for School Readiness children must maintain the Office of Early Learning (OEL) Group Size Requirements (staff to child ratios) at all times. For more information about Group Size Requirements, please click here. Additional information can be found in OEL's School Readiness Program Health and Safety Standards Handbook(s) at the link here.
- Annual Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Update:
Please complete the annual CCR&R update on the Office of Early Learning (OEL) Provider Portal by May 31 of each year. According to Florida Statute Rule 6M-9.3000, Providers must provide an annual CCR&R update to maintain compliance with the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK), School Readiness, and Children's Services Council (CSC) Scholarship agreements/contracts. Parents will then be able to know what their options are within the county. This is also a great way to advertise your facility and its programs.
- Parent Fees:
Parent fees are designated by the Florida Administrative Code (FAC) as a requirement for receiving services unless waived. In the event that a parent does not honor the obligation to pay the parent fees, it will be difficult to transfer their child to a different child care provider. Providers must provide parents with a list of any fees it charges and written notice of the difference between private pay rate and School Readiness (SR) reimbursement, prior to the parent enrolling into their program.