|RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced an additional $70 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding through the federal CARES Act to further support the provision of child care for essential personnel.
“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.”
The closure of K-12 schools impacts nearly 1.2 million Virginia children under the age of 12. In partnership with the Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the CCDBG stimulus funding will provide additional avenues to ensure the availability of child care services for essential personnel and cash assistance to child care providers.
“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.
The funding will be used to increase the availability of child care services for essential personnel and support child care centers in the following ways:
- 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 begin 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 is available here. A comprehensive guide to COVID-19 child care resources in Virginia, including information about how apply for the CCDBG grants, is available here.
Parents who serve in essential industries and are in need of child care services should visit Child Care Aware at VAchildcare.org or call 1-866-KIDS-TLC for an up-to-date list of child care options in their area.
The safety and well-being of Virginia’s children, families, and workers remain a top priority. Child care centers that remain open have been provided additional health and safety guidance by VDSS.