RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pam Northam announced Wednesday that $70 million of Virginia’s portion of the CARES Act will go towards supporting and improving child care options for essential workers with children under the age of 12.
Northam said approximately 2,672 child care centers, close to 45%, have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes nearly 40 percent of centers that serve children through the Child Care Subsidy Program.
The governor said this, combined with the closures of family day homes and other child care sites, led to a reduction in capacity of at least 200,000 slots at the end of March.
Northam added these measures should help some of the Commonwealth’s childcare centers stay open to serve essential workers and their children.
“We will provide direct flexible cash assistance to the centers that have remained open. We will prepare schools to act as emergency childcare centers where needed. We will eliminate copayments until June for families who are already receiving federal childcare subsidy dollars,” said Gov. Northam. “And we will make additional funding available to centers that accept federal subsidy dollars, but had had to close we want to be sure that centers that did serve our most vulnerable Virginians are ready to welcome children back when it is possible to do so.”
Childcare providers can visit childcareva.com for more information on these new resources.
“Parents, you are a child's first and most important teacher. You know your children best and we know you are courageously and tirelessly working to support and reassure your children during this time, even when you may be feeling overwhelmed yourself,” said First Lady Northam. “We thank you for the sacrifices you are making, to keep your family and your community safe.”
Parents who serve in essential industries and are in need of child care services should visit Child Care Aware or call 1-866-KIDS-TLC for an up-to-date list of child care options in their area.