Nearly $90 million has been made available in federal CARES Act funding to assist child care providers through NY Forward grants as they adjust their programs during the COVID-19 crisis. The funding is in addition to $30 million made available in the spring and $48.3 million recently awarded to assist child care providers with reopening or restructuring their physical plans to meet social distancing requirements.
“Child care is essential to getting people back to work and continuing our New York Forward economic reopening,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement this week. “Every working parent deserves the peace of mind that goes with having a quality child care program where their child can grow and learn in a space that has been adapted to meet the health and safety requirements of this extraordinary time.”
The state Office of Children and Family Services administered the federal CARES Act grants. Child Care Resource and Referral agencies statewide will process payments to providers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities that already existed in our society, particularly among working women, and nowhere is that more present than with child care,” Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said. “As co-chair of the Child Care Availability Task Force, I have heard from child care providers throughout our state about how important this funding is as they continue to operate safely with adequate social distancing to keep both staff and children safe. In order to build back our economy better and more inclusive than ever before, we must reduce the stress and cost burden of child care and continue the call for additional federal funding that is critical for New York’s working families and providers.”
Some $20 million of the $88.6 million in grant funding will support child care scholarships for children of essential workers. That includes first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others. Child care costs will be covered for families of essential workers whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level. The funding will support 5,400 children in child care for 14 weeks.
An additional $20 million will be made available for rental assistance for school-based child care programs that have been displaced by the pandemic. It will support 2,300 school-age child care programs with $2,000 in monthly rental assistance for four months.
Another $20 million will support grants for closed child care programs to reopen or restructure under new guidelines for social distancing. The remaining $28.6 million will provide grants for child care providers to pay for half of the cost, up to $6,000, to open a new classroom. Temporary funds would be phased out in the second and third months as parents enroll more children in child care.
Child care providers can apply for funding online.
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