childcare

NJ Human Services Opens Child Care Stabilization Grants

$1,000 Hiring and Retention Bonuses Also Being Paid to Childcare Workers

Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced childcare providers can now begin applying for the American Rescue Plan-funded stabilization grants to help pay for operational expenses amid ongoing pandemic concerns.

The Murphy Administration has also launched the $1,000 hiring and retention bonus grant program in an effort to recruit new childcare workers and retain staff. The $1,000 bonus grants have been paid to retain employees and providers can continue to apply through Jan. 14. Grants for recently hired employees will be issued in spring 2022.

Plans to provide the grants and bonuses were announced by Gov. Phil Murphy and Acting Commissioner Adelman in October.

“We’re pleased to make these grants available and to have paid the first round of bonuses to our valued childcare workers,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “This is yet another step forward in our commitment to supporting providers through this challenging time, which in turn supports working families. I urge providers – who are so important to our families and our economy – to learn about and apply for the grants. We are here to help.”

A second phase of the $1,000 Hiring and Retention Bonus Grant for childcare workers will be available in late 2022. The bonuses are partly funded from the Child Care Revitalization Fund approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Murphy that provides $30 million to Human Services for the childcare workforce.

“Part of Assembly-led efforts to revitalize childcare, the grants being announced today represent a down payment on the futures of our working parents, their children, and our state’s economy,” Assembly Speaker Craig J. Coughlin said. “Helping childcare centers reopen and boosting the number of providers available, this funding is a significant start in providing breathing room for New Jersey families.”

The NJ ARP Stabilization Grants range from $30,000 to $120,000 for licensed childcare centers, depending on license capacity, provider type and monthly expenses. Registered family childcare providers are eligible for $4,000 in grants.

The money can be used for expenses such as wages and benefits, insurance, rent, mortgage, utilities, cleaning and sanitizing, professional development related to health and safety, mental health services, and other operational expenses to remain open and operating. The funding can be used for either past or planned expenses.

To be eligible for the NJ ARP Stabilization Grant, which will be paid in two installments, providers must have been open and operating as of March 11, 2021, comply with federal requirements and be in good standing with state and local health and safety regulations.

Licensed childcare centers and registered family childcare providers can apply for either grant through the New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS).

Childcare providers will have access to technical assistance and training to receive support through the application process and with its requirements. Information about trainings will be available on the NJCCIS.

The grants and bonuses build upon Murphy administration efforts to support families served in the state’s childcare assistance program and childcare providers.

Other aspects of the plan announced in October include:

  • Continuing to help eligible families by covering the additional amount they may owe for fees or the difference between what the state pays and the provider charges. This assistance began in September and is now extended to December 2023. These additional payments provide up to $300 for full-time care, or $150 for part-time care, per eligible child, per month on top of the childcare assistance rate paid by the state on behalf of the family.
  • Waiving copayments in the state’s childcare assistance program.
  • Implementing financial incentives to increase the number of childcare providers that offer non-traditional evening and weekend hours.

The Administration has also worked to make childcare affordable and accessible through substantial increases in reimbursement rates, including boosting rates tied to the annual minimum wage increases.

“Affordable, reliable and quality childcare is vital for working families,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “We are dedicated to doing everything we can to help stabilize and support every segment of childcare in New Jersey.”

“We urge childcare providers to seek this funding,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs the Division of Family Development. “We also urge residents interested in learning more about the state’s childcare assistance program to visit childcarenj.gov.”

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