Northam announces $65.8 million funding increase to child care access amid pandemic

Richmond

The new funding will continue the child care provider incentive grant program established in April.

FILE – In this Feb. 2, 2019 file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, left, gestures as his wife, Pam, listens during a news conference in the Governors Mansion at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. A law firm has completed its investigation into how a racist photo appeared on a yearbook page for Northam. Eastern Virginia Medical School said in a statement Tuesday, May 21 that the findings of the investigation will be announced at a press conference on Wednesday, May 22. Northam’s profile in the 1984 yearbook includes a photo of a man in blackface standing next to someone in Ku Klux Klan clothing. Northam denies being in the photo, which nearly ended his political career in February. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) – On Wednesday, Governor Ralph Northam and First Lady Pamela Northam announced that $65.8 million in new funding will go towards increasing access to child care and support child care providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The investment is supported by $58.3 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund dollars as well as a reallocation of $7.5 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“Early childhood educators have been on the frontlines since COVID-19 pandemic started, going above and beyond to keep their doors open, ensure children are safe, and even fill in the gaps with remote learning as schools have reopened. This new funding will help them continue to support working families and enable more programs to safely provide in-person child care,” said Governor Northam.

This funding will continue the incentive grant program for child care providers announced in April through the end of 2020.

This program is set to provide flexible cash assistance to child care providers to help offset operating costs and expenses associated with meeting health and safety guidelines.

The Virginia Department of Social Services, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Education, has distributed more than $46 million in direct assistance to child care programs to date.

“After listening to providers across the Commonwealth, it was clear that continuing this incentive grant program had to be our top priority. I am thrilled we were able to get it done, and I look forward to continuing to support early childhood education during this difficult time,” said Pamela Northam.

In Virginia, nearly 2,672 child care programs closed their doors at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The governor said that thanks to more than $70 million in grants and other relief, many of the programs have reopened or are starting to.

Providers have reported that the funding is critical and many indicated that without additional financial support, they were unsure how long they could continue to operate.

The distribution of the funds will be announced by the Virginia Department of Social Services in the coming weeks.

Any parents or guardians who are in need of child care services should visit Child Care Aware at VAchildcare.org or call 1-866-KIDS-TLC for an up-to-date list of child care options in their area.


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