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Meeting Minutes - Sept. 9, 2020

Members Present:\

Tammy Maus

Brent Thackerson

William Alexander

Stephanie Lippert

Jennifer Towell

Audra Haney

Jaremy Andrews

Felicia Jackson

Harold Jergenson

Ari Conner

Peggy Byerly

Debra Andersen

Jill Goyette

Lisa Smith

Kay Floyd

Lauren Jenks-Jones

Michelle Stasser

Terri Davis

LaDona Elder

Members not Present:  

Aimee Ryan

Jason Charles

Carrie Jacobs

Gayla Ham

Others Present: 

Janell Wheat

Wendy Jones

Linda Bradford

Katie Quebedeaux

Christy Kastl

Linda Whaley

Gina McPherson

Melissa Marino

Sarah Albahadily

Rep. John Talley

Tina Feltman

Shaunda Williams

Shane Williams

Lorrie Field

Sharon Johnson

Shannon Kaelin

Kimberly McLeod

Susan Case

Mitzi Lee

Rachel Proper

Ashley Ousley

Paula Koos

Kara Watson

Sandy Grace

Kristi Simpson

Lisa Woolsey

Brandy Madden

Constanzia Nizza

Jenny Sneed

Andrew Norton

Cindy Alonso

Mindy Yoder

Michelle Spears



Meeting Notices:

·      The Agenda and Meeting Notice were sent on 08/27/2020 to  with a list of all CCAC meetings for 2020 submitted to the Secretary of State on 12/13/2019


Call to Order:            

·      Michelle Stasser called meeting to order at 10:05 am



·      Brent Thackerson provided words of reflection


Approval of Minutes:  

·      June 10, 2020 minutes were approved

Standing Membership Subcommittee Report provided by Peggy Byerly:

·      New member nominations:

o   Lauren Jenks-Jones representing Dept. of Education

o   Heather Joseph representing the Oklahoma Psychiatric Hospital Association

o   Lisa Smith representing Child Placing Agencies

o   Terri Davis representing Oklahoma Child Care Association

o   LaDona Elder representing Corporate Child Care

§  Tammy Maus voted nay regarding the nomination for Corporate Child Care because it wasn’t reflected in the minutes from the last meeting that there was a position open and doesn’t believe the nomination process was fair and nominations should have been announced.  

§  Statement provided for the minutes by Jennifer Towell - The membership subcommittee is not required to bring the names to the committee prior to their vote as a subcommittee, if there are no nominations and ongoing vacancies the subcommittee can ask CCAC for nominations, however the selection is the role of the membership committee. They then bring the selection forward and the larger board votes on this selection as a recommendation to represent. Gayla will make note for the membership subcommittee reference that Christy Kastl is interested in serving in the corporate child care role should it be vacated and she is able to serve in the role of LCCAOK rep once Tammy Maus’ time is up; should she be the only nomination.

o   All nominations approved

o   All new member nominations attended orientation except for Heather Joseph

·      Vacancies

o   Rural Family Child Care

o   Part-Day Programs

o   Private Partnership

o   Brent Thackerson’s 2nd term will expire in November – Residential

Standing Subcommittee Reports:

·      Family Child Care Homes Standing Subcommittee

o   Ari Conner provided report

o   Subcommittee members have not met in the last quarter

o   Members that she has spoken to still feel like they’re not being heard or helped in regard to CARES Act funding

§  They’re also upset about the money that was allocated for cleaning supplies. They only had 9 days to get that submitted and there were issues when they tried to submit

§  Grants that were being given were based on STARS status

·      QRIS Standing Subcommittee

o   A new chair needs to be nominated – anyone interested should contact Jennifer Towell

o   Subcommittee members have not met

o   The draft recommendations that were completed in February is still in process with DHS; the next step is a public hearing

·      Child Care Facilities (centers) Standing Subcommittee

o   Tammy Maus provided report

o   The last meeting was September 4, 2020 via zoom

§  Those in attendance approved a motion to move forward the proposed mixed-age group ratio change that had been found to be problematic after the most recent ratio changes were put into policy. It was the unanimous consensus of this subcommittee that the proposed change is necessary and will assist programs to meet the needs of children and families that we serve.

§  Ashley Ousley – Mixed-aged Ratios – One of the ratio revisions effective 3/13/2020 caused an unintended problem for some programs that were following NAEYC (National Association for Education of Young Children) ratios. We worked with several providers, representatives from the Child Care Association, and the subcommittee to look at one of the ratios that was causing some specific issues. That was worked through and presented to the subcommittee. We’re proposing to change it back to what it was before the change in March - to be infants, one-year old’s, and two-year old’s - to allow programs to have more children under the age of two in a classroom together.

o   The industry is still struggling significantly with recovery, obstacles and items of concern are:

§  Kithcare – unequal playing field for licensed providers and others are allowed and encouraged to provide care outside of licensing requirements, with significantly different health and safety requirements such as online CPR and first aid, no safe sleep training and with a better payment system and possibly better payment rates in some areas. Essentially, most of the problems that are strangling childcare business have been eliminated or streamlined for the Kithcare program. This program is being promoted to many state agency employees as a solution when licensed childcare programs are hurting and needs the support; we were given a copy of an email that DHS sent out to its own employees.

§  Complaint system – is broken and in significant need of reform. We’ve been made aware of programs that are now being charged with complaints that are made on Facebook, and licensing workers are seeing it on Facebook and then taking that as a complaint. Additionally, often workers will arrive to announce that they’re there on a complaint - count children and ratios, write a report and then leave without even looking into the issue – that’s not really protecting children. This results in more visits that the program must endure, disrupt programs further, and then more visits are listed on the online locator system resulting in the public thinking the program is problematic when DHS’ own records and data indicate this to be unsubstantiated over 70% of the time. This is a significant over-regulation and we request that it be looked into.

§  Virtual school – while public educators are stating that it’s unsafe to be with children, we not only have stepped up to the challenge, but we’ve also taken on virtual school in many if not most of our locations. This is taxing on staff resources and payroll funds that we had no way of realizing the magnitude of. It also needs almost a one-to-one ratio with children and teachers due to the way that most Oklahoma school districts are doing virtual school. This industry appreciates the technology grants but the need for support has proven to be an immense undertaking that we have found to be near impossible.

§  CARES Act funding – many concerns still remain – grants being given are being based on STAR status and the CARES Act didn’t specifically state that at all. We ask that DHS immediately go back and take out that requirement. This subcommittee would also like to request current data from DHS on numbers of closures and programs still open. There are many different numbers, ranging from 5 to 165 that are out there and we’re just really worried that our industry has a significant number of programs and homes that are closed or remain closed.

§  This subcommittee would also like to ask why DHS is meeting with a group outside of this committee about childcare issues and concerns when the Child Care Advisory Committee and its subcommittees are well established and written into law and policy. Honestly, it feels like a cool kid’s club where if we don’t like you, we’re not going to talk to you and we’re going to eliminate you completely from important discussions. This is a function of government, and this committee and its members have faithfully worked on these committees and subcommittees without having any reason to be treated that way. We feel like not only do we deserve the transparency, the industry deserves the transparency, and we personally deserve it in our government and the public deserves that.

·      Residential Standing Subcommittee

o   Brent Thackerson provided report

§  Subcommittee has not met and is not aware of any provider issues


Legislative Update: 

·      Linda Whaley provided report

o   Interim House Study 20‐54 was held on 9/3 related to childcare subsidy payments, sponsored by Rep. Russ

Licensing Sanctions Report:

·      Kristi Simpson provided report and handout

Old Business:

·      Jennifer Towell

o   By-laws Subcommittee

§  This subcommittee has not met yet. It will be made up of current members and no designees. There isn’t a chairperson yet, but Jason may be willing to help coordinate.

o   Concerns about CPR & First Aid being online

§  These trainings have always been online as an option but there was also a required hands-on component (this is an Oklahoma requirement not Federal). During COVID-19 two listserv messages were sent on March 31 and June 22 to providers letting them know online CPR with no hands-on component is available for everyone and not a certain type of program. The online version is good until it expires – we’re not going to make them go back and complete the hands-on component.

§  When Secretary Brown determines that our COVID response has ended at the agency we will go back to regular business and require the hands-on component.

o   Grants for technology, reimbursement, and stabilization

§  These grants are not part of the CCDF CARES Act funds. Secretary Brown and Governor Stitt collaborated to use state CARES Act funds and they decided how those funds would be spent.

§  Secretary Brown is making all the final decisions for how the CARES Act funds through CCDF are being spent; it is currently based on subsidy - $5 extra per day and paying co-pays are coming out of those funds.

o   Kithcare

§  AFS has always had a policy that allows parents that receive subsidy to have the option of a relative care for children in their home. They are required to have CPR/First Aid, they get the good health handbook and a link to the family childcare home training that includes safe sleep.

§  Part of the COVID-19 response at DHS has been expanded to include essential workers – that’s the only change to that program. It was expanded for this timeframe only so it’s not a permanent expansion of providing care in your home by a relative.

o   Hope Centers

§  The Hope Centers that are being created around the state are also coming out of the Governor’s funds in collaboration with Director Brown.

§  They were set up in response to concerns that were reported by those programs that are legally exempt. They approached them regarding the children that are coming to them and the lack of child welfare referrals that are coming into the abuse hotline. These Hope Centers will support children coming into these exempt programs, like the Boys and Girls club, with meals and mental health services they need.

New Business:

·      There was no new business


Public Comment (a more detailed transcription of public comments is attached separately)

·      Rachel Proper – Issues related to fingerprinting

·      Katie Quebedeaux –

o   CARES Act funds

o   Centers and homes closing

o   Ratios

o   Subcommittee’s

·      Tammy Maus, Brent Thackerson, Rachel Proper, and William Alexander – Discussion regarding Senator Griffin’s bill

o   Tammy would like to discuss this more at December’s meeting

·      Janell Wheat

·      Shane Williams

Meeting adjourned at 11:25 am


Next Meetings:

·      Wednesday, December 9, 2020 – Cancelled due to COVID-19

Last Modified on Dec 10, 2021