AUGUSTA: The Maine Division of Well being and Human Providers lately introduced that it’ll distribute $ 73 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to Maine baby care suppliers to assist them improve workers pay and canopy prices associated to COVID-19, which is able to additional assist entry for Maine households. to secure, reasonably priced, high-quality baby care.
The DHHS Workplace of Kids and Household Providers will award Little one Care Stabilization Grants to assist eligible baby care suppliers cowl quite a lot of prices associated to COVID-19. Suppliers receiving grants should use a portion of the funds to pay bonuses of $ 200 per thirty days to workers who instantly care for youngsters, and extra funds can be utilized to pay for bills, together with lease and utilities, discount of charges for households, lack of revenue, private protecting gear and assessments, and psychological well being providers for youngsters and workers.
Grant quantities will range primarily based on capability and staffing, and extra funding can be obtainable for applications that meet the state’s highest high quality requirements, take part within the Little one Care Subsidy Program, and provide prolonged hours to fulfill the wants of fogeys with non-traditional work hours.
“Maine’s baby care suppliers have been essential in offering a secure place for youngsters to be taught and develop whereas permitting their dad and mom to go to work and contribute to our financial restoration,” stated Governor Janet Mills. “These grants from the American Rescue Plan will assist baby care suppliers tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic, together with staffing and lack of revenue, and can enable us to construct a stronger, extra sustainable and reasonably priced baby care system in our state, one thing that’s important to us. strengthen our economic system. “
“Entry to reasonably priced, high-quality baby care is among the most essential methods we will assist working households in Maine throughout and after the pandemic,” stated DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “These grants will present suppliers with the assets they want as a part of our bigger plan to chart a sustainable restoration and a brighter future for Maine’s baby care system.”
Thus far, 951 of Maine’s suppliers (58 p.c) have utilized for the grants.
The Workplace of Kids and Household Providers has helped suppliers preserve most of Maine’s baby care capability, regardless of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of September 2021, 97 p.c of licensed applications are open and operational.
The Little one Care Stabilization Grant Program is the most recent spherical of funding the Mills Administration has made obtainable to baby care suppliers, along with $ 175 million for system enhancements to assist the households and suppliers described within the DHHS Maine Little one Care Plan, in addition to $ 10 million in capital funding for baby care services and early childhood workforce growth and coaching via the Maine Jobs and Restoration Plan.
The $ 73 million allotted for the Little one Care Stabilization Grant Program additionally follows the $ 14 million in direct assist funds to Maine baby care suppliers since March 2020.
These investments construct on the Mills Administration’s efforts to assist Maine households’ entry to baby care earlier than and through the pandemic. This contains dedicating practically $ three.5 million in federal funding to assist low-income dad and mom who obtain grants by waiving their contribution to baby care charges, saving households as much as $ 180 per week, and at present supporting practically four,600 youngsters.
Maine is the one state within the nation that covers at the very least 75 p.c of kid care positions via its subsidy program, assembly the usual really useful by the federal authorities, based on a 2020 report from the Prenatal-to- three Impression Middle.
Extra details about this system and eligibility may be discovered on the Workplace of Kids and Household Providers web site at maine.gov/dhhs/ocfs.