Virginia trying to address child care disaster

Virginia covid-19

(© Ingo Menhard – stock.adobe.com)

Forty-five percent of Virginia’s child care centers have closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a crisis of untold proportions that Gov. Ralph Northam is only belatedly trying to address.

The governor is touting $70 million from the federal CARES Act to go toward the provision of child care for essential personnel.

Virginia has lost 2,672 child care centers since Northam began shutting the state down a month ago.

The closures have reduced the Commonwealth’s child care capacity by more than 200,000 available slots, in a state in which 1.2 million children under the age of 12 are out of school through at least the scheduled beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year in August.

The funding from the CARES Act will be used to increase the availability of child care services for essential personnel and support child care centers by providing incentive grants to child care providers through the end of June, eliminating co-payments through June for low-income families who receive federal child care subsidy dollars, preparing schools to act as emergency child care centers and providing additional funding for child care providers that participate in the federal subsidy program, but have had to close.

Virginia will begin paying current subsidy providers and waiving co-pay for families already receiving federally subsidized child care this week. Updated guidance and answers to frequently asked questions about Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program is available here.

A comprehensive guide to COVID-19 child care resources in Virginia, including information about how apply for the CCDBG grants, is available here.

Parents who serve in essential industries and are in need of child care services should visit Child Care Aware at VAchildcare.org or call 1-866-KIDS-TLC for an up-to-date list of child care options in their area.


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