Access to reliable child care is key as the economy reopens and more parents go back to their physical work spaces. However, due to the pandemic, the operating costs of running a child care center or home have gone up forcing many providers who were already operating on a thin margin to close their doors permanently. Finding child care was already a challenge before the pandemic and now with these looming closures it could become harder. In response, both Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles dedicated a portion of their CARES Act funding to create complimentary Child Care Provider Grant Programs.
Licensed child centers or family child care homes impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to participate in either the Los Angeles County or City of Los Angeles Child Care Provider Grant Program. However, providers who received support through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or other county or city programs are not eligible to apply. The funds can be used for employee payroll, payroll for employee sick time, working capital to continue operations, payment of outstanding business expenses, and adaptive business practices needed to remain open.
Administered by the Los Angeles County Development Authority, the county provider grant program plans to award up to 150 family child care homes with grants of $10,000 and 75 child care centers with grants of $40,000. Grants will be awarded based on a lottery system for each supervisorial district, and need will also be taken into consideration. The program launched Sept. 14, 2020, with grant awardees announced on Sept. 29. Providers located within the City of Los Angeles cannot participate in the county program but are eligible for the City’s child care provider grant program. Administered by the Economic Workforce Development Department, the city’s grant program aims to help 300 family child care homes with grants of $10,000 and 195 child care centers with grants ranging from $25,000 to $40,000. Click here for more details on the launch of the city’s program.
In total, both programs intend to reach 720 providers and disburse over $13 million dollars in grants to help providers stay in business. This support is greatly needed as a study from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that very few child care centers, especially child care homes, were able to access funds through the PPP, a loan program offered through the CARES Act intended to help small businesses stay afloat. Congress continues to debate the fate of the $50 billion dollars in the next stimulus package needed to help providers across the nation survive the pandemic and avoid permanent closures. In the meantime, we applaud both Los Angeles County and the City of Los Angeles for stepping up to support child care providers and the families and children they serve.
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