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Funding provides child care to support essential workers as economy continues to rebuild
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced New York state will provide $25 million in child care scholarships to all essential workers starting June 23. Essential workers include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, transportation workers, food delivery workers and grocery store employees.
This is the first in a series of new investments to support working families and the child care industry through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and American Rescue Plan Act.
"Essential workers have always been the backbone of our economy; they got us through the darkest hours of the pandemic and are playing a critical role in our reopening and recovery," Cuomo said. "These individuals went to work so others could stay home and we must continue to support them in every way we can. We are proud to provide these child care scholarships to our essential workers, giving them peace of mind that their children are safe so they can continue to show up to work each and every day and support their families."
Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level (or $79,500 for a family of four) and will be paid up to market rate for each region statewide for children aged 6 weeks through 12 years. Families currently receiving child care scholarships under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act are encouraged to also apply for this new funding opportunity.
The CARES child care scholarships will end June 28; those currently receiving CARES scholarships will need to reapply.
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul said, "We can't get to a full economic recovery without addressing the child care crisis that was thrust into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our essential workers kept New York running throughout the most difficult days of the pandemic, which allowed others to safely stay home. New York state is proud to provide child care scholarships to our essential workers so they can access the support and care their families deserve."
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila J. Poole said, "Child care is foundational to our economy – without child care, there is no economy. OCFS is proud to support the families of essential workers, to whom we owe a great debt. They have not only brought us through the pandemic, but are carrying us forward as working families return to the workplace and to normalcy. Quality child care will bring them the peace of mind that they deserve as they support us in our return to work."
To streamline the application and funding process, parents will apply for funding through a single online application, and providers will be paid directly on behalf of the parent. The online application can be submitted starting June 23, until funds are depleted. Applications will be processed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or to apply for the funding, click HERE.
Essential workers can use the funding to pay for their existing care arrangement, or for a new child care provider. Workers who need child care can contact their local child care resource and referral agency to find openings. OCFS will administer the funding.
This opportunity is the first in a series of federal funding streams being made available for child care providers, families and workers that were authorized in the New York state budget. Additional funding announcements will be made throughout the coming weeks.