November 17, 2020

Provide Your Feedback: Subsidized Child Care Eligibility

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services and the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) are accepting public comments through December 14, 2020 for proposed changes to the current subsidized child care eligibility regulations.


Proposed changes to the subsidized child care eligibility regulations at 55 Pa. Code Chapter 3041 might impact families, children, and early childhood education providers. The proposed changes include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • expanded eligibility period of 12 months;
    • expanded eligibility to cover hours the parent or caretaker requires sleep following completion of overnight work shift;
    • no changes to the amounts of subsidy and co-payment for the duration of the eligibility period, unless to the family’s benefit;
    • abolished the requirement for the parent or caretaker to pay an advanced co-pay prior to enrollment;
    • children who turn 13 during the eligibility period will continue to receive the subsidy until the eligibility period ends;
    • codifying payment practices permitting tiered reimbursement for providers who voluntarily exceed the basic health and safety requirements;
    • codifying payment practices based on enrollment and not attendance, to include increasing the number of permitted absences from 25 to 50 per fiscal year;
    • after five consecutive days absent, the child maintains eligibility, but the enrollment is suspended until the child returns to care; and
    • establishment of waiver provisions and periods of presumptive eligibility for particular populations, including victims of domestic violence and families experiencing homelessness.

How To Submit A Comment

All public comments must be submitted in writing by December 14, 2020. All comments, suggestions, or objections should reference the regulation number, section, and subsection. Comments can be submitted using the following methods:

    • fax your comments to 717.214.6575; or
    • mail your comments to:Michael Ordonez
      Office of Child Development and Early Learning
      333 Market Street, 6th Floor
      Harrisburg, PA 17126

If you would like to receive a response, please include your contact information when submitting.

More Information

For information about the current regulations, visit the Pennsylvania Code website. To view the latest issue, read Volume 50 Number 46.

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November 16, 2020

DHS Warns of Potential Pandemic EBT Benefit Scam

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is warning of a possible scam concerning Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) benefits and reminding Pennsylvanians to be skeptical of unsolicited or random calls or text messages about public-assistance programs – especially when the calls or text messages solicit personal information, such as Social Security numbers.


DHS is investigating a report of individuals receiving calls with pre-recorded messages advising them to expedite their P-EBT benefits issuance by providing their Social Security number and case record number. In the message, the speaker claims to be from a County Assistance Office (CAO).

DHS and other government agencies do not ask for information about P-EBT, SNAP, or any other public-assistance programs via unsolicited or random calls or texts, and Pennsylvanians should not reply to such a call or text or share any personal information if they are contacted in this way. If you or anyone you work with receive unsolicited or random calls or text messages telling you that you qualify for assistance and then asking for personal information, it is most likely a scam. Do not respond. Delete the message so you do not get caught in an identity theft scam.

Pennsylvanians who have questions about whether a call, text, letter, or other communication is legitimate should contact DHS’ Office of Income Maintenance. Clients in Philadelphia should call the Philadelphia Customer Service Center at 215.560.7226. Clients in all other counties can call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1.877.395.8930.

Apply for Benefits

Applications for the SNAP and other public assistance programs can be submitted online at All Pennsylvanians experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic, a lost job, or a change in income are strongly encouraged to apply and see if they qualify for assistance with food, health care, and other essential needs.

More Information

For more information, read the full press release. To learn about food assistance resources for people around Pennsylvania impacted by COVID-19 and the accompanying economic insecurity, visit the Department of Agriculture’s food security guide.

*Information provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services


September 17, 2020

Allegheny County Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Plan

In September 2020, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services Office of Behavioral Health released a plan and guidance on in-person Early Intervention (EI) services for infants and toddlers in the county. These documents were developed to inform EI program providers and participants of the strategies that will be implemented to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as in-person services resume.


Because in-person Early Intervention services are provided in people’s homes and communities, the successful implementation of in-person services relies heavily on the team effort or EI professionals and participating families to follow the health and safety guidelines detailed in the Allegheny County Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Health and Safety Plan for Resuming In-Person Services. Program staff will work with families to offer quality Early Intervention services in the safest manner feasible.

In addition to this plan, Allegheny County EI Providers and the EI SC Entity are expected to follow the Allegheny County Guidance for Conducting In-Person Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Services which outlines how and when EI in-person service provision will be carried out in Allegheny County during the Red, Yellow, and Green phases of reopening in Pennsylvania.

These plans and guidelines were informed by existing best practice guidance from numerous sources, including the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), the Pennsylvania Department of Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Office of Governor Tom Wolf, and local Allegheny County government officials.

Featured Topics

The Allegheny County Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Health and Safety Plan for Resuming In-Person Services features information on numerous topics, including the following:

    • required training and education;
    • health screenings and responses;
    • conducting in-person visits; and
    • EI Intervention Therapist and Provider caseload and staffing reviews.

More Information

For more information, read the full plan and guidance. Early Intervention providers are encouraged to share this document and its content on their websites and social media platforms.


July 31, 2020

New Process to Prevent Suspensions and Expulsions

Effective August 1, a new process to request support for a child with unique needs or challenging behaviors to prevent suspension and/or expulsion from early learning programs is available for families and early learning professionals.

How to Request Support

To request assistance from the Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), early learning professionals and families can complete a new online form entitled, “PA Key Expulsion/Suspension Support Request.”

Circumstances for Alternative Support

More Information

For more information, view the Developing Suspension and Expulsion Policies document.


July 29, 2020

IEPs and the 2020-21 School Year: What Families Need to Know

Are you the parent or caregiver of a student with an IEP? Join the PEAL Center on August 11 for the webinar, “Students with IEPs and the 2020-21 School Year: What Families Need to Know.”


On August 11, Carole Clancy, Director of the Bureau of Special Education at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, will join the PEAL Center for a live presentation to offer an overview of guidance being provided to schools regarding students with IEPs. Director Clancy will discuss the following:

    • COVID-19 compensatory services;
    • instructional days and hours;
    • the use of masks at schools; and
    • COVID-19’s impact on evaluation, re-evaluation, and delayed eligibility determinations.

Participants are encouraged to submit any questions they may have for the presenter in advance by completing this online form. Questions must be submitted no later than August 3, 2020.


This live event will be available on the PEAL Center Facebook page and will be recorded for those unable to attend. A webinar recording will be available on the Facebook event page after the session ends.

Training will be delivered in English, with Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) translation available. Captioning in other languages is available if participants download the Microsoft Translator app.

More Information

For questions or more information, contact or 1.866.950.1040.

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June 19, 2020

Public Discussion: Services for Families in Allegheny County

What does your community need? How can the Allegheny County Department of Human Services help meet those needs? You are invited to share your ideas and suggestions at a virtual Human Services Block Grant Public Meeting. All input will inform the 2020-21 Human Services Block Grant Plan.

Available Sessions

Join a Session

There are three ways to participate in a virtual meeting:

  1. To hear the live audio, see the live video, and participate in the Q&A, join on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You may be instructed to download an app called Microsoft Teams. If prompted to sign in, you may choose whether to do so or join anonymously.
  2. To hear the live audio only, call 267.368.7515. The access code for Monday’s meeting is 172 596 105# and the access code for Tuesday’s meeting is 746 312 327#.
  3. To watch the recordings at your convenience, visit the Allegheny County website. The recordings will be posted within 24 to 48 hours after the meetings.

More Information

Allegheny County DHS makes reasonable efforts to accommodate people with disabilities or limited-English-proficiency. Closed captioning in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic will be available when joining the meeting on a PC or Mac.

For questions, comments, or ideas, contact DHS-Ideas@AlleghenyCounty.US.


May 7, 2020

Help Allegheny County Plan for the Future

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of all Allegheny County residents. While we cannot be certain what the future holds, the Allegheny County Department of Human Services (ACDHS) is looking to prepare for different contingencies. By beginning their preparation now, ACDHS seeks to ensure its systems are ready to adapt quickly as the situation continues to progress.

With this, ACDHS is seeking community survey responses to better understand residents’ experiences and challenges during this difficult time.

Survey Opportunities

ACDHS has created several opportunities for community members to share their ideas on how to help people in Allegheny County during COVID-19 and beyond. Opportunities include the following:

More Information

To learn more, visit their survey webpage. For more information on COVID-19, please visit our regularly updated COVID-19 news-feed.


May 6, 2020

Navigating Transitions During COVID-19 for Infant/Toddler Families

We would like to invite you to join us for a live informational webinar from the Bureau of Early Intervention Services and Family Supports. This live web series is about what families can expect during the closure of face-to-face Early Intervention Services. These sessions will assist in navigating transitions during COVID-19 for infant/toddler families. The live informational webinars will be recorded and posted on the EITA (Early Intervention Technical Assistance Portal) Portal for those who are unable to join live.


There is no need to register for this event because this is a public webinar to help families maneuver through this difficult time. To attend, you can very simply join from PC, Mac, iOS, or Android on May 13 at 2 p.m. Attendees can also join us by phone if they choose. Attendees can also join us by phone if they choose. When dialing in, callers can access the webinar by entering 855.880.1246 on your keypad and using the following Meeting ID: 988 8060 8928

More For Infant/Toddler Families During COVID-19

For more information on this live webinar series or on Early Intervention Technical Assistance (EITA), contact Sarah Holland at To find resources that support early intervention (EI) work during COVID-19, click here.

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May 5, 2020

Promotion, Prevention, and Intervention Services for Children

Join the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC) on May 13 for their webinar “Promotion, Prevention, and Intervention Services for Children” to better understand how to support children, families, and staff as they seek to support young children during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Join Brandy Fox, Director of Cross-Sector IECMH Initiatives for the Pennsylvania Key, for a conversation about early childhood services grounded in a promotion, prevention, and intervention framework. Learn about the general landscape of early childhood services and “where” they fall on this continuum. Identify simple steps that may help families navigate these services to best meet the needs of their children.


To register, visit the event webpage.


April 17, 2020

CHIP Will Maintain Enrollment During COVID-19 Crisis

On April 15, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) announced that it is “making temporary changes to Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to keep families enrolled in CHIP for the duration of the public health emergency and to ease access to medical services for children being screened or receiving treatment for COVID-19.

What is CHIP?

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is Pennsylvania’s program to provide health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. For most families, the program is free. Families with incomes above the free CHIP limits pay low monthly premiums and copays for some services.

CHIP covers any uninsured child or teen up to the age of 19 and guarantees 12 months of coverage unless the family no longer meets basic eligibility requirements. There is not a waiting list to enroll in the program. Caregivers must renew their coverage every year to continue receiving services. To learn more and apply, visit the CHIP webpage.

Included Changes

The following changes to CHIP will be in effect until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency:

    • Families will not be denied or disenrolled from coverage for administrative or financial reasons. An example of an administrative reason would be not being able to provide proof of income.
    • Families will not pay a copay for services that are for COVID-19 screenings, testing, or treatment.
    • Families who cannot provide paperwork to verify information on an application or renewal can provide self-attestation of information by signing the application or renewal.
    • Families will be given more time to pay premiums, if needed.

These changes were made due to the economic and financial hardship that many families across the Commonwealth are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, families must still provide verification of information provided on an application and are still responsible for copays for services not related to COVID-19.

Families will still be required to pay premiums, if applicable. However, if a family is unable to pay due to a decrease in or loss of income, that family must contact their managed care organization immediately and can request a reassessment because of an income change at any time.

More Information

For more information, read the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ full press release.