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Special to the News
Alabama’s child care workers may be eligible for quarterly bonus payments of up to $1,500 through grants announced Monday by the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR).
The Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants supply funding to help child care providers recruit and retain qualified employees as the industry recovers from the pandemic. Funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The pandemic has underscored the importance of accessible child care and the crucial role our providers serve for Alabama’s families, workforce and economy,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “This immediate investment in child care providers and their dedicated workers will generate long-term benefits for our entire state.”
Eligible child care providers can apply beginning November 29 to receive funding for quarterly bonus payments of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees.
The two-year grant period is scheduled to end in September 2023, meaning eligible employees may receive up to eight bonus payments. Providers must submit separate applications for each quarter within the time frames listed in the grant schedule.
To qualify, child care providers must have been licensed to operate on March 11, 2021, the date the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law.
They also must be in operation on the dates they apply, and they must continue operating for at least one year after receiving a grant. Providers are ineligible if they are on probation or if their licenses are suspended or revoked.
Additional eligibility criteria; along with applications, grant schedules and other important information; are available at dhr.alabama.gov/child-care.
DHR is administering the grants through the Alabama Partnership for Children and the Talladega Clay Randolph Child Care Corporation.
This is the third grant opportunity DHR has offered to child care providers during the pandemic. The two previous grant programs awarded a combined 2,427 grants totaling $56.8 million to help providers reopen and remain open.
Results from a DHR survey this past September showed 90% of licensed child care providers were open for business. Just 12% reported being open in March 2020. DHR is hopeful that the new monetary incentives will further stabilize the child care industry in Alabama.