New federal guidance expands eligibility for child care workforce stabilization grants
Published 4:42 pm Monday, January 3, 2022
FROM STAFF REPORTS
MONTGOMERY – New guidance from the Administration for Children and Families Office of Child Care has expanded eligibility for the Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants, which are made available through the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
Child care providers licensed after March 11, 2021, are now eligible for the grants if they satisfy all other requirements. Previously, providers licensed after that date were ineligible. DHR has issued 116 licenses since March 11.
In response to the new guidance, DHR has extended the application window for the first of eight quarterly grants through Jan. 31. To date, 1,204 child care providers have been approved for the initial grants.
The Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants supply funding for quarterly bonus payments of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees to help child care providers recruit and retain qualified staff as the industry recovers from the pandemic. Eligible employees may receive up to eight bonus payments before the two-year grant period ends in September 2023.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of accessible child care and the crucial role our providers serve for Alabama’s families, workforce and economy,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “This immediate investment in child care providers and their dedicated workers will generate long-term benefits for our entire state.”
To qualify, child care providers must be in operation on the dates they apply, and they must continue operating for at least one year after receiving a grant. Applicants must be in good standing with DHR.
DHR is administering the grants through the Alabama Partnership for Children and the Talladega Clay Randolph Child Care Corporation. Funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.
This is the third grant opportunity DHR has offered to child care providers during the pandemic. The two previous grant programs awarded a combined 2,427 grants totaling $56.8 million to help providers reopen and remain open.
Results from a DHR survey this past September showed 90% of licensed child care providers were open for business. Just 12% reported being open in March 2020. DHR is hopeful that the new monetary incentives will further stabilize the child care industry in Alabama.
Applications, grant schedules and additional eligibility requirements are available at Dhr.alabama.gov/childcare.