The Lead

Wolf admin announces $655M in aid to child care providers

By: - September 28, 2021 9:28 am

Acting Pa. Human Services Secretary Meg Snead (Commonwealth Media Services photo).

By Harrison Cann

More American Rescue Plan dollars are being allocated for the kids.

The Department of Human Services is distributing about $655 million in funding to the child care industry in the commonwealth, Acting Secretary Meg Snead announced at a press conference Monday afternoon.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Pennsylvania’s child care industry – from increased expenses and decreased demand early in the pandemic to the current challenges of staffing shortages and waiting lists for families that need affordable child care to get back to work,” Snead said. “Our goal with this funding distribution is to offset those challenges and create a pathway for recovery from this pandemic – not just for child care, but for our economy as a whole.”

This will be the fifth round of funding given out to child care providers since March 2020. Nearly $400 million in stimulus grants have been given to child care facilities hit hard by the pandemic through the first four rounds. The most highest demands are addressing increased costs related to COVID-19 health and safety guidelines and the need to offset the impact of reduced enrollments.

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning, known as OCDEL, partnered with Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs to develop the methodology for distribution. The institute’s report states that this round of stabilization grants will use a “methodology that incorporates individual provider data and extensive cost-basis research that is specific to Pennsylvania child care.”

Licensed providers can submit applications for one-time grants, and if approved, they will have nine months to use the funds and provide a report to DHS.

Harrison Cann is a reporter for City & State Pa., where this story first appeared

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