Wolf announces $600 COVID grants for Pa. child care workers

Kids at Today’s Child day care

Kids at Today’s Child day care in Clifton Heights, Pa. have supervised playtime outside. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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Some Pennsylvania child care workers are now eligible for a one-time, $600 coronavirus relief grant, Gov. Tom Wolf announced Wednesday.

The funding stems from federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) quality dollars and remaining funding previously made available through the federal CARES Act for child care providers.

Like other sectors of the economy, child care facilities have been hard hit by the pandemic.

“For nearly a year, child care professionals have continued to work through a challenging environment,” Wolf said in a press release, adding that the commonwealth is grateful for their commitment during this tumultuous period.

The grants, which will replace the quality Keystone STARS Education and Retention Award (ERA) for the 2020-2021 fiscal year, will be administered through local Early Learning Resource Centers (ELRC).

The one-time award will be provided to approximately 33,000 child care employees, an increase from the roughly 9,000 employees who would have received ERA payments.

Eligible employees include child care workers who:

  • Are employed by a licensed child care provider as of Jan. 1.
  • Earn less than or equal to a gross salary of $70,000 annually and
  • Work a minimum of 20 hours per week at a licensed child care business.

“Child care workers shape and care for our youngest minds during some of their most formative years,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “And a safe, loving child care center can be an extension of family for parents and children who rely on their work.”

Miller urged all providers to apply for the opportunity on behalf of their staff.

Child care providers that are currently licensed and certified through the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) — and are open and operating — are eligible to apply.

All applications must be sent to the provider’s ELRC and received by Feb. 12.

Applicants are encouraged to apply sooner rather than later, as funding is limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Broke in PhillyWHYY is one of over 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic justice. Follow us at @BrokeInPhilly.

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