Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Meg Snead announced plans to distribute $655 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to Pennsylvania’s child care industry. Licensed child care providers can submit applications for one-time grant funding that can be used to cover expenses.
“This is an unprecedented amount of funding that we hope and believe will help these businesses and nonprofit organizations shore up their finances, recruit and retain early childhood professionals, and build capacity to serve more children, especially in communities where working families are struggling to access affordable child care options,” Acting Secretary Snead said.
DHS partnered with Penn State’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs to develop a distribution formula. At least 90 percent of the total funding will be used to provide grant funding directly to eligible child care providers that submit applications, making approximately $655 million for this funding opportunity.
DHS has established an online application process that is available starting today. Child care providers have the discretion to use these dollars for a variety of purposes, which include:
- Personnel costs, including for both recruitment and retention efforts, such as sign-on bonuses and pay increases;
- Operational costs, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, and insurance;
- Health and safety costs, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), cleaning and sanitation supplies, and staff professional development related to health and safety practices;
- Equipment and supplies;
- Goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services;
- Mental health services for children and staff; and,
- Reimbursement for past COVID-19-related expenses incurred after January 31, 2020.
“Early learning center teachers are critical front-line workers working with a vulnerable population — young children who do not yet have access to a vaccine — and our teachers are vulnerable themselves to this dangerous virus,” said Jennifer Ross, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg, which operates the Brenner Family Early Learning Center. “We are truly appreciative of the flexibility we have in how these critical funds can be spent. With ever-changing circumstances, that flexibility is essential.”
Providers will have nine months after their application is approved to use these dollars and provide a report to DHS on how those dollars were used. This one-time funding is available to child care providers with a license in good standing that have been open since March 11, 2021 – or, if temporarily closed, that plan to reopen by the end of September.