Northam announces $65.8M to increase child care access, support providers

Northam announces $65.8M to increase child care access, support providers
Child coloring (Source: Pexels)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam announced $65.8 million in new funding on Wednesday to increase access to child care and support child care providers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding comes from $58.3 million in Coronavirus Relief Fund and reallocation of $7.5 million in Child Care and Development Block Grant funding from the CARES Act.

“Our ongoing COVID-19 response and recovery depends upon having a child care system that is both accessible and operational,” said Northam. “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.”

The funding will help child care providers offset costs associated with meeting health and safety guidelines during the pandemic.

“Virginia’s early educators are truly superheroes, and thousands of our families rely on them every day,” said First Lady Northam. “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.”

Nearly 45 percent of child care programs in the state closed when the pandemic first hit, but funding has allowed most of them to reopen.

Distributions of the funding will be announced by the Virginia Department of Social Services in the coming weeks.

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