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Childcare centers can receive over $400,000 in pandemic relief

Image courtesy of the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services

Because so many children weren’t going to daycare during the pandemic, the industry took a huge hit.  The federal government is providing over $319-million in Stabilization Grants for child care providers through the American Rescue Plan, and applications are already being taken.

Vicky Lowery is with the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS), which is administering the Child Care Strong program.  She discussed the specifics of the program during an interview with Gerard Gibert on SuperTalk Mississippi Thursday.

“The goal is to cover operating expenses for childcare providers for six months so that they can continue to stay open,” she explained.  The application process is open through the end of January.

These dollars will go directly to childcare providers to provide relief to help defray the continued business costs associated with the pandemic and to help stabilize their operations so that they may continue to provide care.

Stabilization Grants may be used to cover a range of expenses such as personnel costs, rent or mortgage payments, insurance, facility maintenance and improvements, personal protective equipment (PPE) and COVID-related supplies, training, and professional development related to the health and safety practices, goods and services needed to resume providing care, mental health supports for children and early educators, and reimbursement of costs associated with the current public health emergency.

To be eligible to receive Child Care Strong Stabilization Grant funding:

· Providers must be licensed or registered and meet federal criteria.

· Providers must be in good financial standing with DECCD and Federal accountability reports related to CARES Act and CRRSA funding.

· Licensed providers and Non-relative In-home providers DO NOT have to be participating in the Child Care Payment Program (CCPP) to be eligible for this funding.

Some conditions will prevent providers from being awarded funding:

o Any provider who has been found to have committed fraud/intentional program violation in the Child Care Payment Program within the past year is disqualified.

o Any provider under revocation or suspension of their license or registration status with the MS Department of Health, Division of Child Care Licensure, or CCPP is disqualified.

o Early Head Start or Head Start programs/grantees are not qualified.

o Any program currently receiving state or local funding to cover operating expenses is not qualified, for example, Head Start programs, public Pre-K, etc.

If a single owner has multiple sites, they should apply for funding separately for each license/registration number.

All providers will be required to complete and submit an application for funding and monthly reports detailing how funding was spent. Providers who do not participate in the Child Care Payment Program will also have to register with MDHS for the agency to release funding and issue the appropriate tax documents.

Providers will continue to receive their monthly Child Care Payment Program subsidy, based on enrollment, in addition to the Child Care Strong Stabilization Grants.

“This third round of direct pandemic-related support is part of our continued service to Mississippi children and childcare providers who continue to feel the effects of the pandemic,” MDHS Executive Director Robert  Anderson said. “Childcare is essential to our workforce and getting families back to work in support of our state economy and providing tangible help to Mississippi children to create hope for tomorrow.”

For more information on Child Care Strong or to determine funding for your childcare center, please visit Child Care Strong – Mississippi Department of Human Service (ms.gov).

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