Many have not been able to stay open due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Frederick, Md (KM). Nearly $2-million dollars from Frederick County’s share of the federal CARES Act funding will be used to assist child care centers.. That announcement was made by County Executive Jan Gardner during her public information briefing on Thursday. Gardner said the money will be provided in the form of grants.
She noted state restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus have been a burden on some child care centers. Gardner said child care providers couldn’t have any more than ten people in one room, including children and staff, and any additional space was reserved for the children of essential workers, such medical professionals, law enforcement and fire and rescue, and employees of retailers which were allowed to remain open.
This has led to the closure of some child care centers. Gardner says as of last week, 30% of the licensed child care centers had closed. She said some may close permanently, or stay closed until they are develop plans to reopen safely.
The County Executive says one expense that’s been very burdensome on child care providers is extensive cleaning regulations. “We know these steps are necessary to help avoid an outbreak of the virus,” Gardner said. “But we also know these steps are expensive to implement, and they are expensive that most day cares had not anticipated.”
She said the grants being developed will be used by child care providers to help with cleaning expenses. “Eligible family child care provides could receive a $4100 grant. Centers with up to 59 children could receive a $5100 grant. And the larger centers, those with 60 or more children, can receive $6800,” says Gardner.
The County will be working with Child Care Choices to administer the program. Program Director Patty Morrison said these grants are welcome news. . “These grants to child care programs in Frederick County will allow providers some relief with these increased cleaning responsibilities so that they can really focus their attention on the social, emotional well being of our children,” she said.
With most of the economy coming back, Gardner said child care will become increasingly important for many people. “Child care is key to bringing the economy back,” she said. “If our economy is to thrive, it’s essential that we have adequate, quality child care. The closure of child care facilities creates challenges for our families and our children, and it harms our economic recovery.”
In order to be eligible, child care providers must be licensed and in good standing with the Department of Education. They must also be open by August 31st, 2020, and agree to remain open for four months after receiving the grant funds.
Applications can be made starting on Monday, August 17th beginning at 8:00 AM. The deadline to apply is Monday, August 24th at 5:00 PM.
For more information contact Patty Morrison at PMorrison@fcmha.org.
By Kevin McManus