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Date Posted: 05/15/2020

Additional Federal Child Care Funding to Help Centers, Essential Workers

 

For Immediate Release:

May 15, 2020

Media Contacts: 

Amy Webb

Chief of Communications

amy.webb@dhs.arkansas.gov

 

Marci Manley

Deputy Chief of Communications

marci.manley@dhs.arkansas.gov

 

Additional Federal Child Care Funding to Help Centers, Essential Workers

Providers given additional pandemic procedures today to ensure safety

 

(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) --- Funding is now available to help licensed child care centers cover costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak and to cover child care costs for some essential workers in Arkansas, a group of State Legislators and the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS) announced Friday. 

“Safe and high-quality child care is critically important to families trying to get back to work and to our economy as a whole,” said DHS Deputy Director for Children and Families Keesa Smith. “This funding will help address the safety and economic issues for child care that have arisen as a result of this pandemic, and the enhanced safety procedures will help assure parents that we at DHS are committed to protecting children.”

The DHS Division of Child Care and Early Childhood Education (DCCECE) issued additional pandemic procedures to licensed child care providers today aimed at stopping the spread. The guidance follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arkansas Department of Health recommendations and requires screening for all individuals (staff, children, and families) entering a facility and prior to transporting; limiting group size to 10 or less, including staff and children; requiring staff to wear masks; serving individual rather than family style meals, and more frequent handwashing and sanitation.  

These precautions are in addition to regular licensing requirements related to infectious disease. 

DCCECE also outlined how federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding of over $41 million in Child Care Development Block Grant funds will be used to:

Support licensed providers so they can remain open or re-open as appropriate through continued supplemental voucher payments through August, to coincide with school start dates. -- Estimated $15 million.

Help licensed child care providers cover costs of cleaning and sanitizing facilities to ensure safety and meet required pandemic protocols. – Estimated $8 million

Provide short-term child care assistance to essential workers. Federal requirements made it clear that essential workers should be able to access this support regardless of income (as funds allow). The funds would be payments to a qualified child care provider that accepts vouchers – not to the workers themselves. – Estimated $18 million

“Child care and early childhood programs in Arkansas are committed to doing everything they can to support families and keep children safe as evidenced by their willingness to remain open during this difficult time,” said DCCECE Director Tonya Williams. “DHS is excited to support those efforts and to ensure funding is available for those essential workers who need it.”

DCCECE licenses about 2,000 child care centers in Arkansas. Of those, more than half have remained open during the public health emergency. 

 

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Arkansas Department of Human Services
Arkansas Department of Human Services

Arkansas Department
of Human Services
(501) 682-1001

TTY: 1-800-285-1131 or dial 711 for Arkansas Relay Service

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