A coalition of regional partners joined together Thursday to announce the San Diego County Childcare Provider Grant Program, an initiative that will distribute $25 million in coronavirus relief funding to childcare providers impacted by COVID-19.
The coalition, which includes the County of San Diego, The San Diego Foundation, Child Development Associates and YMCA of San Diego County, will open the application period Monday. The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to distribute $25 million of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding to eligible childcare providers in San Diego County.
“The childcare sector is very important, as our economy cannot be sustainable if parents do not have safe places for their children to be cared for and educated while they are working,” said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, co- chair of the county’s COVID-19 subcommittee. “This new $25 million grant program will help childcare providers make their centers safe during the coronavirus pandemic and allow them to remain open so parents can return to work.”
Funding will be allocated based on predetermined categories outlined in the CARES Act agreement. Large family childcare providers — licensed to care for a maximum of 14 children — will be eligible to receive up to $3,500 and small family childcare providers — licensed to care for a maximum of eight children — will be eligible for up to $2,750. Non-government-contracted licensed providers will be eligible to receive up to $175 per child capacity, based on childcare license.
Partially-funded government-contracted licensed childcare centers such as HeadStart will be eligible to receive up to $175 per non-subsidized child, not to exceed license capacity. Non-government-contracted, license- exempt group care providers — including summer day camps and community youth clubs such as Boys & Girls Clubs — that serve school-age children up to 12 years old will be eligible to receive up to $100 per child capacity.
“This funding helps prioritize access to high-quality childcare for all families, helps provide a professional wage for hardworking providers, and helps strengthen the childcare system,” said Baron Herdelin-Doherty, president & CEO of the YMCA of San Diego County.
Eligible childcare providers will be able to apply for funding online or in print in eight different languages — English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian, Somali, Haitian Creole and Arabic — and the coalition will distribute the funds.
Providers can visit SDFoundation.org/ChildcareGrants to learn more. Funding will support staffing, supplies, mortgage and rental assistance, business resilience and capital improvements for outdoor areas.
“We also have been focusing on equity for our most vulnerable children and families ensuring they are connected to available support services,” said Alethea Arguilez, executive director of childhood health advocacy group First 5 San Diego. “This investment is very timely, as we know our providers have been operating with greater restrictions and mandates in order to maintain the health and safety of the children they serve. Ultimately, these funds will support our existing childcare system and in turn continue to nurture the healthy development of all our children.”
The Childcare Provider Grant Program builds upon the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which was started to receive donations and make emergency grants to organizations supporting San Diegans impacted by the pandemic. To date, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund at The San Diego Foundation has distributed more than $26 million to nonprofits on the frontlines of the crisis.
The foundation will also provide an additional $10 million in grants to support children and families, and access to quality, affordable childcare in the San Diego region over the next five years with at least $1 million of that distributed in 2020.
— City News Service