Gov. Cooper announces more than $800M in funding for NC child care centers

North Carolina

CARRBORO, N.C. (WNCN) — Gov. Roy Cooper says child care centers across the state will be able to get their hands on millions of federal dollars as soon as next month.

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Cooper announced that $805 million in stimulus money will be used for child care stabilization grants. The goal of that money is to help these centers stay afloat, recruit and retain teachers, offer mental health services for children and teachers, and offer better healthcare benefits for staff.

“We also know that a lot of our child care providers struggle to have healthcare coverage. A lot of them fall into that gap between making too much to qualify for Medicaid right now but not enough to qualify for federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act,” Cooper said.

Cooper toured the Community School for People Under Six before making that announcement Thursday. The school’s director says she’s one of many childcare directors struggling to hire right now, so this is money they’re desperately needing.

“Our staff is aging. They’re ready for retirement and we need to recruit new people so having the opportunity to have more people come into the field means we need to pay competitive salaries,” said Anna Mercer-McLean, the school’s director.

The grants pay from $3,000 to $60,000 per quarter based on the size of the program and awards will start going out in mid-November on a rolling basis.

Child care directors can start applying for the grants Monday at 9 a.m. on the NCDHHS website.

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