Virginia to invest in over $203.6 million to expand access to childcare, increasing support for providers

Virginia Politics

Gov. Northam says families with a household income of up to 85 percent of the state median income with children five and younger are now eligible to receive subsidies

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam listens as he prepares to speak to a group of volunteers to distribute supplies at health equity community event Tuesday May 12, 2020, in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND (WAVY) – Governor Ralph Northam announced that an additional $203.6 million in federal stimulus funds and expanded eligibility criteria for the Child Care Subsidy Program will help further stabilize Virginia’s early childhood care and education system.

On Friday, Northam said the funds will help provide childcare assistance to additional families as they seek stable employment or return to work, and deliver critical operational and technical resources to new and returning childcare providers.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, the strength of our recovery will depend upon our ability to help families return to the workforce and provide quality, affordable options for early childhood care and education. These additional investments will help address the challenges child care providers are facing and ensure we can continue to deliver critical resources to those most in need now and into the future.”said Governor Northam.

Although 90 percent of childcare center programs have reopened, due to the COVID-19 pandemic there are ongoing staffing challenges, revenue shortfalls, and increased operational costs for many providers.

Through the additional funding, Northam said Virginia will continue to provide stabilization grants to sustain current providers and help closed providers re-open as well as retention bonuses and scholarships for childcare educators.

To support families and children in areas where there are few or no options, Virginia will also offer grants to help open new programs.

The additional federal funding will support families and childcare 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 childcare providers may temporarily need to close, or children may need to quarantine.

Builds the foundation for a statewide mental health consultation program to assist childcare providers in helping children through this difficult time.

Issues a fourth round of childcare stabilization grants to eligible open providers in the Commonwealth.

Provide funding for grants and contracts to support increased access to childcare in underserved communities.

Supplement the state’s innovative childcare educator incentive program so that eligible educators in childcare 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.

In partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, VDSS is working to initiate the application process for expanded Child Care Subsidy Program eligibility.

VDSS said they hope to be able to communicate additional program details and stabilization grant information to families and providers by mid-April.

For additional information about childcare assistance in Virginia, visit ChildCareVA.com.

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