State to distribute $51 million in CARES funding to support child care providers

This initial funding will reach nearly 7,000 child care centers

Gov. Tom Wolf announced an initial distribution of $51 million of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to support child care providers around Pennsylvania. Distributed in partnership with the General Assembly, this initial funding will reach nearly 7,000 child care centers.

“Child care providers are the backbone of our economy in many ways,” Wolf said. “Without their work, children would miss out on an introduction to education that helps them throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood, and parents and guardians may have to stay home or not pursue education themselves. I cannot understate how valuable this work is to local communities and the commonwealth as a whole, and as Pennsylvania reopens, we need a robust and healthy child care system.”

According to state Rep. Tina Davis, D-Bucks, Bucks County will receive $2.35 million. 

“Thanks to child care providers, parents can go to work because they know their children will be cared for in a safe environment where they will get foundational social and intellectual skills that will carry them through life,” Davis said. ”After this terrible health crisis, our communities will need a strong child care system so parents can go back to work.

“That’s why I’m very glad Bucks County has received this CARES Act funding, which will help our child care providers get back on their feet after their businesses suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Pennsylvania received $106 million in funding to support child care providers through the CARES Act that will be distributed to providers in two waves. The first wave of $51 million will be distributed to all eligible, licensed child care providers and is designed to help providers preparing to reopen as counties move to the yellow phase.

The remaining funding will be allocated following the completion of a study by the Department of Human Resources Office of Child Development and Early Learning and Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs assessing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania’s child care providers.

“Child care providers allow parents and guardians to go to work knowing their children are being cared for in a safe, nurturing and educational environment. Without their service, we cannot have a fully functional economy, and we are committed to helping them weather this tumultuous period,” said DHS Secretary Teresa Miller. “This CARES Act funding allows us to support child care providers who are undoubtedly feeling the current strain on their businesses so they can continue to be a resource for families around Pennsylvania.”

Funds will be distributed to eligible, certified child care providers through regional Early Learning Resource Centers. OCDEL determined eligibility for funding and amount of award based on the type and size of provider, number of active enrollments in a Child Care Works (CCW) subsidized child care, child care capacity, and licensure status.

A base payment is set by licensure type and capacity and providers can receive additional funding for CCW enrollments if they operate in a county determined to have moderate or acute capacity issues. Twenty-seven counties in Pennsylvania can be considered moderate or acute child care deserts based on capacity of licensed child care providers compared to projections from census data on the number of children needing care. Providers suspended for a tax lien, welfare fraud or providers whose licenses have been revoked or not renewed were disqualified from receiving CARES funding.

OCDEL has continued to pay child care providers from CCW, Pre-K Counts, and Head Start State Supplemental Assistance Program enrollments during the closure period. OCDEL recognizes that providers have or will experience increased costs associated with additional staffing, cleaning and sanitation to ensure a safe environment for children. This funding is being provided to support the continuum of child care business operations that are so very necessary to Pennsylvania’s parents.

The attestation form and process for the CARES Act funds for child care providers can be found here.