For Immediate Release:
October 7, 2021
Amy Webb, Chief of Communications & Community Engagement
Gavin Lesnick, Deputy Chief of Communications
(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) — Licensed child care centers, child care family homes, and out-of-school-time facilities that have been operational since March 11, 2021, can now apply for grants to help cover pandemic-related operational expenses, the Department of Human Services (DHS) Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education announced today.
The stabilization grant funding is available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act, and is just one component of a concentrated effort to provide additional financial support to child care facilities, homes, and after school programs in Arkansas during the pandemic. A total of $286 million has been allocated for stabilization of child care in Arkansas, which includes improving the quality of care, covering pandemic-related expenses, and expanding child care programs. Of that, $41.4 million is reserved for operational expenses, which providers can now request. Additional funding from the stabilization grants includes $172 million for quality improvements and $44 million for child care expansion which will be released later this year.
The operational funding can help cover the cost of professional development on health and safety, minor renovations, payroll/bonuses, expenses associated with program audit, air system improvements, personal protective equipment, security systems, cover past losses associated with COVID-19, and social emotional supports for children and staff.
“Child care facilities are a big part of the reason Arkansas has been so successful during the pandemic in terms of keeping people working and the economy going,” said Child Care and Early Childhood Education Director Tonya Williams. “They kept their doors open and kept the children of this state safe so essential work could continue, but we know doing so came with extra expenses.”
Williams said the grants can cover costs beginning September 17, 2021 and can help these centers and homes moving forward as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
All licensed child care centers, child care family homes, and out-of-school-time facilities should watch for an email from the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The email will go to the facility email address set up in the licensing data system and will include a link to the request for grant funding. If providers have not received the email, they should check spam or junk folders. If it is not there, they should reach out to their licensing specialist.