April 14, 2021
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) has distributed a first round of grant payments totaling more than $3.5 million to 1,067 child care providers who collectively serve over 35,000 Maine children statewide.
The grant program, which was announced by OCFS (PDF) in February 2021, was funded through the federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding allocated to Maine under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSA) of 2020. The application for the first round of grant funding was released on March 1, 2021, and child care providers were invited to apply for grants which ranged from $360-$27,500 to cover COVID-19-relatedcosts.COVID-related costs including, hazard pay or bonuses to staff, purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE), additional janitorial costs, COVID-19 testing, and mitigating other hardships related to the pandemic.
“Child care has always been essential to the growth and development of Maine children, and the pandemic has highlighted the vital role that providers play in supporting Maine families. Providers have continually stepped up to provide safe and nurturing care for Maine’s children,” said Todd Landry, Director of the Office of Child and Family Services. “These grants, along with other funding opportunities provided last year, will help ensure providers can continue to operate while keeping children, families, and staff safe and healthy.”
OCFS is currently accepting submissions for the second round of grant awards (PDF); the application period opened April 1, and will end May 27, 2021. Providers who applied for and received a grant in the first round will continue to receive grant funding quarterly throughout 2021, and do not need to reapply.
Since March 2020, OCFS has made nearly $14 million in direct support available to child care providers to assist them in continuing operations during the pandemic.