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Gov. Northam announces $70 million through CARES Act for child care

The childcare center opened on Monday and will eventually serve 28 children in the area.
The childcare center opened on Monday and will eventually serve 28 children in the area.(WHSV)
Published: Apr. 15, 2020 at 5:58 PM EDT
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Amid other updates

, one that you may have missed pertained to childcare throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Northam announced that the $70 million had been provided in a Child Care and Development Block Grant through the federal CARES Act to help support essential workers and their children.

“Many child care centers have had to close their doors due COVID-19, but their services are vital for the critical workers on the front lines of this public health crisis,” said Governor Northam. “I thank our child care providers who work each and every day to ensure our youngest Virginians are receiving quality early childhood care and education, and are going to extraordinary lengths to keep them healthy and safe during these unprecedented and challenging time.”

With nearly 1.2 million Virginia children under the age of 12 affected by the closure of schools for the academic year, the Virginia Department of Education and Virginia Department of Social Services are using the new federal funds to provide additional ways to ensure the availability of child care for children of essential personnel and cash assistance for providers of child care.

“The most important aspect of Virginia’s early care and education system is our dedicated educators, and this past month has made that more evident than ever,” said First Lady Pamela Northam. “That’s why we fought so hard to get this additional funding to them as quickly as possible.”

Across Virginia, approximately 2,672 child care centers—nearly 45 percent—have closed, including nearly 40 percent of centers that serve children through the Child Care Subsidy Program. Combined with family day homes and other child care sites, these closures represent a reduction in capacity of at least 200,000 slots as of the end of March.

According to Northam's office, the newly available $70 million will be used in the following ways to increase the availability of child case services and support child care centers:

• Provide incentive grants to child care providers that are open, from now through the end of June;

• Eliminate co-payments through June for low-income, working families who receive federal child care subsidy dollars;

• Prepare schools to act as emergency child care centers, where needed; and

• Provide additional funding for child care providers that participate in the federal subsidy program, but have had to close. This will help ensure they are ready to welcome children back as soon as this crisis has passed.

“Our essential workers are facing a limited number of child care options as providers struggle to remain operational,” said VDSS Commissioner S. Duke Storen. “These measures are critical to ensuring Virginia can maintain a strong child care system not only during this crisis but beyond.”

Virginia will start paying current subsidy providers and waiving co-pay for families already receiving federally subsidized child care this week. Updated guidance and answers to frequently asked questions about Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program can be found

.

A comprehensive guide to COVID-19 child care resources in Virginia, including information about how apply for the CCDBG grants, is available

.

Parents who serve in essential industries and are in need of child care services can visit Child Care Aware at

or call 1-866-KIDS-TLC for an up-to-date list of child care options in their area.