Third Round of Child Care Stabilization Grants from CARES Act1 Comment
On October 21, Governor Northam announced $65.8 million additional funding from the CARES Act to support the child care sector. These funds come on top of the $70 million previously announced to support existing early education care and school-age care programs that remained open during the pandemic.
The Virginia Department of Social Services will provide more information about how providers can access these funds in the coming weeks.
The additional funds will be used to support child care programs that remained open, providers that wish to re-open, and emergency care programs supporting virtual learning. These funds will be targeted to:
- Child care programs that applied but were not approved for Phase 2 grants before funding ran out. Programs on the wait list for Phase 2 should expect a grant.
- Child care programs seeking funds to stabilize income due to loss of tuition and increased costs. Approximately $42 million will be available for open child care providers and those seeking to re-open.
- Emergency child care programs working collaboratively with schools and supporting virtual learning. Approximately $20 million will be available to support emergency child care including $4 million in CARES funds to use now and an additional $16.6 million in general funds that can be used next year.
These additional funds will make public resources available from April through December providing some continuous public support to remain open and “bail out” this essential industry. As of mid- October, two-thirds of programs have reopened leaving 148,000 regulated child care slots still closed. Phase I & Phase 2 grants averaged about $9,000- $11,000 per program site, with all types of providers being eligible from small home-based providers serving three children to large-scale, multi-site programs serving hundreds.
These funds are direct cash assistance with no strings attached. Providers and child care business owners can use them for hazard pay for employees, reducing costs for parents, providing mental health, and wellness supports to staff or any of the safety requirements to protect children and staff from COVID-19. This pool of state-directed funds is in addition to the funding that many localities offered through local CARES Act funds to support early education and care during virtual learning.
The governor’s action to approve the CARES funds means that the Virginia Department of Social Services can offer Phase 3 grants before the Governor signs the General Assembly’s adopted budget. The Governor’s announcement is in line with the negotiated budget from the House and Senate which allocated $60 million in CARES funds for a child care stabilization fund and $33 million in CARES & general funds for emergency child care during virtual learning.
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