Pierce County allocated $2 million to child care that will be invested in two programs - a voucher system for families and relief grants for providers.
A Voucher System for Families:
$1.5 million will go towards vouchers for Pierce County families to access any 0-12 years old licensed child care program, or any school aged only program. The funding will support 300 children attending child care for 3 months. Child Care Resources (CCR) will administer this program. To qualify for financial assistance to pay for child care, applicants must be an essential workers or have their income, work or access to child care negatively impacted by COVID-19. Apply by calling or texting the Child Care Aware of Washington Family Center at 1-800-446-1114 Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. View the program flyer.
Relief Grants for Providers:
$500,000 will go towards provider relief grants, with an emphasis on child care deserts. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a huge financial impact on things such as ability to maintain payroll, rent, and utilities; increased costs related to personal protection equipment and cleaning supplies; and increased staffing costs in order to meet the safe physical distancing classroom sizes. Grants will allow closed providers to re-open, and ensure providers have resources necessary to offer safe care that meets the safety guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control. There will be an upfront provider and community input process, facilitated by First 5 FUNdamentals (F5F). Child care providers will participate in both the input, criteria determination, and the grant award process. F5F and CCR will co-administer the program.
In the coming months, Child Care Resource and First 5 FUNdamentals will continue to engage community partners, to identify reforms that will ensure child care is available to families not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but well into the future. To be part of the conversation sign up here.