Parents invoiced for thousands of dollars violates promise of program
Rep. Tom Kunse (R-Clare), vice chair of the House Ethics and Oversight committee, today sent a letter to the Michigan Auditor General requesting a thorough review of the state’s error-ridden Child Development and Care (CDC) program.
Kunse joined House Republican Leader Matt Hall and Rep. Gina Johnsen earlier today to discuss the letter and highlight a solution House Republicans have brought forward to prevent parents and child care providers from being left in a lurch.
“The Detroit Free Press recently revealed several problems with the state’s changes to child care subsidy eligibility standards and its failure to communicate those changes to parents and child care providers,” said Rep. Kunse. “Working parents across my district have shared with me that they’re getting stuck with child care bills that the state was supposed to be responsible for – posing a major financial burden on their families. This issue is a direct result of an incompetent bureaucracy – that’s why I’ve asked the Auditor General for an immediate review and examination of the program.”
In a letter sent to Auditor General Doug Ringler this morning, Kunse asked for a review and examination of the following:
- Caseworkers giving eligibility information (including, but not limited to, the number of child care hours for which a family is eligible) to parents or providers that conflicts with official notice;
- Erroneous termination or other changes to a family’s eligibility.
- Delayed notice of terminations or other eligibility changes to parents or providers.
- The difficulty of getting information through the hotline (time spent on hold, days-long waits for a callback appointment, etc.).
- The lack of back payments to compensate for wrongful eligibility termination.
- The division of roles between the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services has contributed to errors and communication delays.
“We have a duty as legislators to act and develop reforms that address this issue that’s causing major problems for parents and child care providers,” Kunse said. “A detailed understanding will enable legislators and administrators to correct the current shortcomings so the CDC program can better serve parents and providers.”
In addition to the letter, House Republicans are spearheading a plan to address the problems already identified and allow the program to operate more effectively. The plan will:
- Require reimbursement for care provided during a period where a family’s benefits were erroneously terminated by the state. The reimbursement would be paid within 15 days to parents, if they paid out of pocket, or to providers, if they provided care for which they were not paid.
- Require determinations of eligibility to be made within 15 days.
- Require notice of eligibility changes to be sent electronically and by mail for timely communication.
- Streamline the program under one state department, as opposed to multiple departments, to minimize the chances for miscommunication.
“Last year was such a success that we had to run it back again this year,” said Kunse. “Things can get tense in Lansing, but we’re all here because we want to make things better. The Legislative Softball Game allows us to throw politics aside, embrace bipartisanship, and raise money for a really important organization.”
“Five years after announcing her Michigan Sunshine Plan, the governor failed to even mention the historically inadequate transparency legislation she signed last year,” said Kunse, the Republic vice chair of the House Ethics and Oversight Committee. “Her silence is deafening. Gov. Whitmer talked endlessly about sunshine when she came into office. Six years later, both Lansing and our transparency laws are covered in fog.”
State Rep. Tom Kunse, R-Clare, will soon host local office hours in Evart and Clare. The meetings will take place at the following times and locations: Saturday, Feb. 10 Evart Library; 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.; 104 N Main St. in Evart. Monday, Feb. 19 Cops and Doughnuts; 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.; 521 N McEwan St. […]
“It’s frightening to consider how many kids may have been failed by the broken system in the 18 years since MDHHS was originally sued for negligence,” said Kunse, who serves on the House Ethics and Oversight Committee. “MDHHS is clearly incapable of creating meaningful change. The Oversight Committee must demand answers and explore solutions for these failures. This is urgent. We’re not talking about tax policy; we’re talking a state department failing vulnerable kids.”