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Lincoln – With the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), $3.5 billion was appropriated to the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF). The CCDF is the primary federal funding source for child care subsidies to help low-income working families access child care and improve quality of child care for all children. Nebraska received $20 million in CARES Act funding for its share of the total federal CCDF allotment. Part of these funds have been allocated to a Stabilization Fund for licensed child care providers who have stayed open during the pandemic and to an Incentive to Reopen Child Care Program Fund for child care providers who closed.
1. Child Care Provider Stabilization Fund
Although many child care providers have remained open to serve families, providers have had to reduce the number of children they care for to comply with state Directed Health Measures. To help make up for lost income, the necessary purchasing of cleaning supplies, and other expenses, the child care Stabilization Fund grants will help cover costs related to COVID-19. Providers must be open and operating at least 30 days prior to application.
Family child care homes l/ll will be eligible for a one-time award of $3,500, and child care centers will be eligible for a one-time award of $5,550. Providers must submit an application and be in good standing with DHHS. Funding can be used on allowable expenses such as: utility payments, rent or mortgage payments for child care programs, staff salaries, cleaning supplies, personal protective gear, and supplies to care for children. Receipts or other proof of payment will be required.
2. Incentive to Reopen Child Care Programs Fund
To better serve child care providers who have discontinued operations temporarily due to COVID-19, DHHS will award Incentive to Reopen Child Care Program Fund grants. Priority for these grants will be given to providers who are in good standing with DHHS and meet certain criteria, such as committing to reopen within 30 days of receipt of funds, participating in state quality improvement initiatives, and servicing low-income children or children of essential and emergency workers.
Family child care homes I/II will be eligible for a one-time grant of $2,000, and child care centers will be eligible for a one-time grant of $3,000. A provider would not be eligible for both the stabilization grant and this grant.
To better facilitate the disbursement of these funds, DHHS has partnered with the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation (NCFF) to process applications and provide payments for child care providers seeking either fund. Providers looking to apply for either fund can visit NCFF's website here.