Help is on the Way
Area Child Care COVID-19 Economic Relief Update
We worked hard to keep you informed and engaged in advocating for the unprecedented $50 billion in dedicated response and recovery funding for child care. However, since the American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 11, there hasn’t been a lot of information to share. We thought it might be a good time to provide an overview of all of the funding that has been allocated, and what we know about how Kansas and Missouri plan to use it.
There are three different COVID response packages providing child care-specific funding:
- CARES Act
- MO: $66.5M (currently spending)
- KS: $31M (currently spending)
- Coronavirus Response and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA)
- MO: $185M (finalizing spend plan)
- KS: $89M (working on spend plan)
- American Rescue Plan
- MO: $718M (no spend plan)
- KS: $347M (no spend plan)
CARES Act Spending in Kansas and Missouri
The CARES Act, signed into law in March of 2020, included a significant infusion of funding into existing federal programs that support the care and education of young children, including $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Program.
Here is how the CARES Act funds have been used to support early care and education in Missouri and Kansas:
Missouri CARES Act Spending:
- The state expanded income eligibility for child care subsidies from 138% ($30,000 for a family of three) to 215% ($45,000 for a family of three) of the federal poverty level.
- Provided temporary subsidized child care for 90 days while low-income, unemployed parents found work.
- From April through June, programs that remained open to provide care for the children of essential workers were eligible for one-time grants from $1,000 to $7,500.
- Providers operating during nontraditional hours during the same period were also eligible for $100 monthly stipends per child, for a total cost of $4.2 million to the state.
- Provided $10 million in one-time grants to allow institutions of higher education to establish on-campus child care programs.
Kansas CARES Act Spending:
- Expanded child care subsidies to essential workers, specifically health care workers and first responders. The state capped eligibility for this program at 250% of the federal poverty level.
- The state also offered a one-time bonus for child care staff who worked at site who remained open to care for children of essential workers during the pandemic.
- This fall, the state dedicated $8 million in CARES Act dollars to reimburse early childhood professionals and other essential workers for lost wages and medical expenses directly attributable to COVID-19 testing and treatment.
Plans for Coronavirus Response and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) in Kansas and Missouri
The Office of Child Care describes the objective of CRRSA as, “Provides resources to address the immediate needs of families struggling to pay for child care and child care providers facing financial uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Both states are currently finalizing CRRSA spend plans.
Missouri Coronavirus Response and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Spend Plan
In June 2021, Missouri announced 14 initiatives to support families and providers. Two of these initiatives are currently active. The remaining initiatives are coming soon.
- Families who lost employment due to the pandemic can receive child care subsidy benefits while looking for work (up to 60 days).
- The sliding fee will not be deducted from child care subsidy payments for services delivered from June 1, 2020 to September 30, 2022.
- One-time payments of $1,000 per slot (maximum of 5 slots per provider) for providers who offer non-traditional care schedules (evenings and weekends).
- Providers who care for children in the foster care system will be able to receive payments based on slots, rather than attendance.
- Expansion grants will be available to all types of existing providers. These grants will be available to all types of providers and can be used to expand or improve facilities.
- Start-up grants will be available to new (subsidy and non-subsidy) providers. Acceptable expenses include items to meet licensing requirements, three months of lease/rent, and three months of salary.
- Additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. This will provide assistance with COVID-related expenses and losses incurred due to the pandemic.
- Scholarships for providers to pursue a Child Development Credential (CDA). These scholarships will be available to both providers who accept subsidies and those who do not.
- Scholarships for providers to pursue a Youth Development Credential (YDC). The YDC is an entry-level credential for a director.
- Provides technical and business assistance funding that will allow providers to purchase software for collecting payments online, managing enrollment, bookkeeping, payroll, family engagement, etc.
- Funding for the start up of an early childhood program at one of the DESE career centers.
Kansas Coronavirus Response and Recovery Supplemental Appropriations Spend Plan
Kansas has not released a complete CRRSA spend plan, but they recently announced a partnership with Child Care Aware of Kansas to administer child care sustainability grants. We will update this section as more information becomes available.
- DCF has partnered with Child Care Aware of Kansas to provide sustainability grants to cover provider costs of operations and potential revenue losses.
As reported to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the following investments are among those being considered.
- Expanding access to child care subsidies. Including implementing changes to the current eligibility system to allow for differential payment rates for underserved populations.
- DCF is considering the continuation of funding for health consultants and supply grants to all licensed child care providers in need of help implementing safety protocols utilizing CRRSA funds.
- Beyond accessibility to sustainability grants, DCF will use funding for technical assistance to all licensed and DCF enrolled child care providers to connect them to resources that support sustainable business operations and other funding opportunities.
- To increase the capacity of licensed care, DCF is considering covering a portion of the start-up costs for new licensed providers, especially in areas defined as “child care deserts” or that serve underserved populations.
- DCF is considering offering one-time grants to licensed providers for equipment or supplies for existing classrooms or home-based facilities (e.g., new carpet, games, books, educational toys, multicultural toys, technology for classrooms, playground equipment), which can make a lasting impact on care experiences beyond the pandemic.
- To support workforce development, DCF is considering offering training scholarships for licensed child care providers and DCF enrolled providers and relevant trainings to navigate care in the COVID-19 environment.