RICHMOND, Va. -- Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Friday $203.6 million in new funding to increase access to child care and support child care providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds, provided by the federal stimulus packages, will go toward the Commonwealth’s Child Care Subsidy Program. The dollars will allow even more families struggling to make ends meet to qualify for help paying for childcare.
The funds “will help further stabilize Virginia’s early childhood care and education system, provide child care assistance to additional families as they seek stable employment or return to work, and deliver critical operational and technical resources to new and returning child care providers,” according to a press release.
The new income eligibility levels allow families with a household income of up to 85 percent of the state median income to apply if they have a child under age five, or not yet in kindergarten, to qualify.
“Early educators have been diligent and dedicated to keeping children safe and meeting the needs of our youngest Virginians since the early days of this public health crisis,” said Northam.
The additional federal funding will support families and child care providers by enabling the Commonwealth to:
- Waives co-payments for families in April, May, and June to reduce financial hardship and support children’s access to care.
- Increases absence days so that providers and families can manage occurrences where child care providers may temporarily need to close or children may need to quarantine.
- Builds the foundation for a statewide mental health consultation program to assist child care providers in helping children through this difficult time.
- Issues a fourth round of child care stabilization grants to eligible open providers in the Commonwealth.
- Provide funding for grants and contracts to support increased access to child care in underserved communities.
- Supplement the state’s innovative child care educator incentive program so that eligible educators in child care centers and family day homes that receive public funding such as the Child Care Subsidy Program are now eligible for up to $2,000 this year to strengthen quality and reduce turnover.