Deadline approaching for resources, funding available to child care providers

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Resources and deadlines are approaching for financial assistance for many of the state’s day care providers, including one available to all regulated providers.

Gov. Andy Beshear said since 117 of 120 Kentucky counties are now in the “red zone” – having an average of 25 or more positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents – it’s even more important for providers to follow regulations to help stop the spread of the virus.

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“Every day in my COVID-19 report, I have the painful responsibility to announce the number of new cases and deaths across the state,” he said. “While we are grateful that, with rare exceptions, COVID-19 is not fatal for our children, we must remember that positive children with mild or no symptoms of COVID-19 can spread it to others – parents, grandparents – who may be far more vulnerable. The safe and measured strategies we have established for child care providers are proven to keep families healthy and save lives.”

Kentucky has allocated more than $67 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to child care providers this year. Funds have helped pay for operational costs and fund PPE and sanitation supplies.

Two more opportunities for CARES Act funding are still available for providers.

One funding stream supports the entirety of the Kentucky regulated child care population.

Dec. 1 is the deadline for all licensed, certified and registered child care providers across the state in centers and family child care homes to apply for a $130 per child stipend, based on their current enrollment listed with the CHFS Division of Regulated Child Care. This is the last stipend of the state’s CARES Act funding for all current child care providers.

Dec. 1 is also the deadline for applications for the certified family child care home start-up grants. The $2,500 start-up stipends are available for potential child care providers who want to become a family child care home certified and regulated through CHFS, operating for at least 12 months.

Department for Community Based Services Commissioner Marta Miranda-Straub said so far 35 participants have been approved for the grants, but more funding is available for additional new providers.

“This is a great opportunity for caring individuals who have been interested in opening child care programs and becoming business owners,” she said. “Kentucky has pockets of ‘child care deserts’ – child care shortages – in all areas. This was true even pre-pandemic. Working parents come to depend on small, safe in-home providers to care for their children while they are at work or school.”

The money can be used for a computer, safety materials, insurance premiums, zoning fees and other needed materials.

CHFS Secretary Eric Friedlander said child care providers play a key role in support of the state’s economy and have proven that they are critical to their communities’ success.

“The coronavirus has certainly opened our eyes to the necessity of good child care providers,” he said. “We know it is a delicate balance for these providers to run their own businesses under greater limitations, and we thank them for achieving that. We want providers and their families to know that these guidelines are working. And that with news of promising vaccines on the horizon, they should be temporary. We do understand this is a difficult time, but we know you are essential to this state’s rebuilding effort.”

Miranda-Straub said her child care staff understands the hardships providers have met.

“Providers fuel the engine of a successful economy, and when they face unplanned complications from the pandemic – smaller enrollment, costs of sanitation supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) – they see an uncertain future,” she said. “But the safety strategies in place, such as increasing sanitation measures and keeping groups to a maximum size of 15 children and keeping groups together all day long, are why we can keep providers operating. They’re saving lives and ultimately will help save this vital part of our commonwealth beyond this crisis.”

Read the current child care safety regulations here.

Child care providers can find further resources and support here.