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Gov. Wolf: PA to distribute $117 million in CARES funding for child care providers

Gov. Tom Wolf today announced his plan to distribute more than $117 million in CARES Act funding to child care providers across Pennsylvania – the third of three distributions to sustain an industry that builds healthy foundations for our children, facilitates employment and economic opportunity for working parents, and is the keystone for every other aspect of our economy.

Earlier this summer, the Wolf administration distributed about $104 million in CARES Act funding to child care providers licensed by the Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL). The distribution method of this latest round of CARES funding is based on the findings of researchers at Penn State Harrisburg’s Institute of State and Regional Affairs, who studied the impact of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania’s child care industry. In total, $220 million has been allocated to support child care providers across Pennsylvania.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, 7,017 licensed child care providers were operating in Pennsylvania. As of late July, more than 200 of those providers have indicated an intention to permanently close their doors. The third round of CARES funding will be distributed to 6,893 providers.

The impact study analyzed the financial costs of the COVID-19 crisis to child care providers, the possibility of permanent closures as a result of the crisis and the level of investment needed to sustain the industry during a transitional period of low demand and after the crisis has subsided. Penn State researchers drew conclusions from both detailed surveys distributed to hundreds of child care providers throughout Pennsylvania and also a smaller number of personal interviews with child care providers and workers.

Penn State’s study estimates about 1,000 additional providers are at risk of closure without financial assistance to offset ongoing costs of implementing COVID-19 guidelines and reduced enrollments. The study’s recommendations to guide distribution of about $117 million in federal CARES Act funding allocated for child care.

In addition to $116M in CARES Act funding made available in the enacted budget, the department is redistributing more than $1.7 million of funds from the June and July Child Care Development-CARES Act funding in this third round of payments.