Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State will provide $25 million in child care scholarships to all essential workers starting June 23, 2021. Essential workers include first responders such as health care providers, pharmaceutical staff, law enforcement, firefighters, transportation workers, food delivery workers, grocery store employees and others. This is the first in a series of new investments to support working families and the child care industry through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and American Rescue Plan Act.
“Essential workers have always been the backbone of our economy, they got us through the darkest hours of the pandemic and are playing a critical role in our reopening and recovery,” Governor Cuomo said. “These individuals went to work so others could stay home and we must continue to support them in every way we can. We are proud to provide these child care scholarships to our essential workers, giving them peace of mind that their children are safe so they can continue to show up to work each and every day and support their families.”
Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level (or $79,500 for a family of four) and will be paid up to market rate for each region statewide for children aged six weeks through 12 years. Families currently receiving child care scholarships under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act are strongly encouraged to also apply for this new funding opportunity. It is important to note that the CARES child care scholarships will end on June 28; those currently receiving CARES scholarships will need to reapply.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “We can’t get to a full economic recovery without addressing the child care crisis that was thrust into the spotlight by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our essential workers kept New York running throughout the most difficult days of the pandemic, which allowed others to safely stay home. New York State is proud to provide child care scholarships to our essential workers so they can access the support and care their families deserve.”
To streamline the application and funding process, parents will apply for funding through a single online application, and providers will be paid directly on behalf of the parent. The online application can be submitted starting June 23, 2021, until funds are depleted. Applications will be processed and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Essential workers can use the funding to pay for their existing care arrangement, or for a new child care provider. Workers who need child care can contact their local child care resource and referral agency to find openings. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services will administer the funding.