Child care providers play a vital role in supporting our workforce, yet despite their value to economic growth, the sector has been grossly underfunded by state and federal government. With COVID-19 impacting every aspect of daily life, the pandemic has exposed just how fragile the child care system is in the United States.
As the number of unemployment claims continue to increase, child care facilities are seeing devastating drops in enrollment. Over 1,500 child care providers with a licensed capacity of 75, 963 children have temporarily closed
across the state as of May 12. In Pierce County, 142 child care programs have closed.
Child care must be available and accessible when Americans are ready to get back to work. Child care programs struggled to operate on razor-thin margins and limited availability even before this pandemic. The federal government must provide funding to preserve and expand child care systems if the economy is to recover.
The Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) is offering support to child care providers under the Child Care Development Block Grant’s CARES Act
. This critical support is in the form of a one-time grant and is available to any licensed child care provider in Washington State that is open as of today, May 15 when applications open. More information on how to apply for this grant is available below.
The latest House coronavirus bill, the HEROES Act, includes $7 billion for the child care industry. While this is a necessary and important first step to providing relief, it is nowhere near the estimated $50 billion needed to ensure there is a child care system in place once it’s safe to re-open businesses.
There is a lot at stake right now, and it’s more important than ever for early learning advocates to reach out to legislators and ring the alarm for child care.
CHILD CARE COVID-19 GRANT
This one-time Child Care Development Block Grant is available to licensed child care providers in Washington that are open as of May 15. The funds can be spent on facility/space rent, personnel, utilities, health and safety/cleaning supplies, and food. Applications open today, May 15 at 11 AM.
Funding amounts will be based on licensed capacity:
- Small: 0-49
- Medium: 50-99
- Large: 100-150+
DCYF will disperse funds as follows:
- $6,500 to small and open providers
- $11,500 to medium and open providers
- $14,000 to large and open providers
SUPPLIES FOR PROVIDERS
Many child care programs are closing because they cannot get the supplies they need to safely operate their small businesses. Child Care Aware of WA is seeking financial donations to purchase these items and deliver them to providers. Your support helps ensure care providers can safely stay open and serve the children of essential workers.
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FUNDING CHILD CARE
Unless Congress provides significant funding for the child care sector, the coronavirus pandemic could lead to a permanent loss of millions of child care slots. This is why we’re calling on Congress to act immediately. Use and share the provided toolkit to reach out to state representatives via email, social media, and phone.
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