With the school year starting in New Jersey amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy today announced plans to dedicate $250 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund, which will provide additional support to children and their families as well as for thousands of child care providers with resources. These plans are highlighted in the Governor’s FY2021 revised Budget Proposal as part of the state’s spending plan for the $2.39 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.
“Now more than ever, working families need access to child care to balance the many demands they are facing during the ongoing pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “With these investments, we are ensuring that high quality child care is accessible and affordable for families across the state.”
“Today is an important day. The funding announced is much-needed as we move toward further re-opening of our State,” said Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin. “$250 million is a huge investment and it offers the support that our State’s hard-working families need as we all wait for the pandemic to subside and guard against a resurgence in the fall. Childcare providers play a critical role for children and their parents who are going to back work in-person. It is vitally important that we support providers and families with restart grants, supplemental funding and tuition scholarships. This is the right thing to do and I thank the Governor for spearheading this initiative.”
“We have long known that quality child care is essential to child development and economic development. Today’s announcement makes clear that, in the face of a pandemic, child care is also essential to helping schools reopen,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “The Governor and the Department of Human Services are taking these actions to address some of the incredible burden working families are facing as work-from-home and remote learning occur at the same time. Families need relief, and we hope today’s actions offer some hope and opportunity for parents to get the support they need.”
“The pandemic has reinforced what we already knew — that access to adequate, affordable and safe childcare is absolutely vital to working parents and New Jersey’s families,” said Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “We are working collaboratively and creatively across State government to expand childcare capacity and ensure that quality care is within reach for every New Jersey family that needs it. Through this initiative, we’re working to help families find a balance between professional responsibilities and personal needs through a robust, safe and enriching childcare infrastructure in the Garden State.”
The Governor’s Child Care Initiative includes the following components:
Supporting Children and Families:
Applications will open in early September. When the process opens, families may submit applications and the department will make awards to participants who meet the eligibility criteria until funding is exhausted. Selected recipients will be eligible for either full- or part-time support based on their families’ needs.
Supporting Child Care Re-Opening:
The new initiative builds on Governor Murphy’s ongoing commitment to making child care more affordable and accessible in our State.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Murphy Administration has taken several steps to support child care for families and to support the sustainability of providers including:
Delivering personal protective equipment to emergency child care centers and family child care providers.
Since the beginning of the Governor’s term, child care has been a top priority and the Administration has taken action to substantially increase state child care subsidy rates and decrease co-pays for families as we continue to advance quality child care in the State.
All funds will be subject to federal statutes and guidance governing the use of the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Payments must be for necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency that were not accounted for in the FY 2020 budget, and can only cover costs incurred between Mar. 1 and Dec. 30, 2020.
The Administration remains committed to helping New Jersey’s families navigate the health and economic challenges resulting from the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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