DHHS Extends Child Care Transition Grants

June 22, 2023

Today, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced it is extending the current Child Care Provider Transition Grants to help child care providers continue to rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and improve access to quality child care in Maine.

The grants, originally set to end in May 2023, will continue to September 2023. Nearly 1,300 Maine child care providers will continue to receive $25 per licensed capacity or “slot” through the grant program.

The extension is funded through $4 million in Federal funding remaining from the American Rescue Plan’s supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Discretionary Funds for federal fiscal year 2023. It is on top of the $14.4 million in transition grants already distributed to child care providers from September 2022 through May 2023.

The DHHS Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) launched this program last September to continue to cover a variety of costs related to COVID-19 recovery as other pandemic-related grants ended. Most notably, the Federally funded COVID-19 Child Care Stabilization Grants ended last September after having provided $73.1 million to increase pay for workers and otherwise support child care in Maine. The Transition Grants also complement the permanent $200 per month salary support for child care workers funded with over $12 million in General Funds in the supplemental budget for State fiscal year 2023.

Other American Rescue Plan support for child care providers continues. The Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan provides $15 million for Child Care Infrastructure Grants to help family providers and centers start or expand. Through June, less than a year after the grant program launched, OCFS has awarded $5.7 million, helping to create 1,956 child care slots. This includes slots in rural Maine: 138 slots in Aroostook County, 54 in Washington County, and 50 in Somerset County. It also includes 321 slots created by family-based licensed providers. The Infrastructure Grants will continue through the end of September 2024.

The extension of the Provider Transition Grants announced today represents the Mills Administration’s latest investment in improving the accessibility and quality of child care in Maine as part of OCFS’ Child Care Plan for Maine.