Gov. Wolf Announces $98M Grant Opportunity Investing in Child Care Workforce Recruitment and Retention

May 16, 2022

Governor Tom Wolf today announced a $98 million grant opportunity for certified child care providers to support workforce recruitment and retention. Funded by American Rescue Plan Act funding received specifically for child care providers and their critical workforce, this funding can support providers seeking to recognize staff dedication through retention bonuses and can assist with personnel development and recruitment.

“Child care professionals spend their lives working in service to others, and the benefits of their work are seen not just by families but by all sectors of society that are able to function because our children are safe and learning,” said Gov. Wolf. “We must recognize and reward their investment so we may all continue to realize the intergenerational benefits of their contributions to children, communities, and our commonwealth’s economy.”

Affordable and accessible high quality child care and early learning programs are foundational to children’s education and future and parents’ ability to work and support their families knowing their children are safe and cared for. Throughout the pandemic, child care centers and early childhood educators have worked tirelessly through the difficulties to offer families of all backgrounds and means an opportunity for quality, equitable child care. Child care centers must be able to staff appropriately to safely care for children and offer a reliable, enriching environment that benefits both children and parents.

“As a mom to two young girls – including one that still spends her days at a child care facility – I see first-hand the way our child care and early learning systems cultivate our youngest minds and allow my husband and I to do our jobs each day. That would not be possible without the talented and dedicated staff that choose to work in this essential field,” said Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead. “But I’ve also seen how hard the last two years have been on an industry that already often operates on thin margins. The joy and growth I see from my daughter and other children in care would not be possible without the dedication and skill of child care professionals. We must continue to invest in this field and this profession that gives so much to families every day.”

The Wolf Administration has also taken significant steps to support the child care industry through the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to do so. In the fall, DHS announced its plan to distribute $655 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act to stabilize Pennsylvania’s child care industry. Licensed child care providers are invited to submit applications for one-time grant funding that represents an unprecedented investment in the child care industry and its dedicated workforce. This grant funding can be used to cover expenses, support staff, and provide support to this critical industry that continues to be challenged by the pandemic. 

Additionally, $352 million in Child Care Development Fund funding from the American Rescue Plan Act is being invested in Pennsylvania’s Child Care Works (CCW) subsidized child care program, targeting decreased costs to families, greater support for child care providers participating in the program, and setting incentives for providers who expand care availability beyond traditional hours.

Applications for these grants will be accepted from May 16 until June 17, 2022. Funds will be disbursed to approved providers beginning July 1 until September 30. More information about how to apply for this funding is available at www.pakeys.org.

To find licensed child care programs operating in Pennsylvania visit www.findchildcare.pa.gov. Families who are having trouble finding a provider or who are lower income and need assistance paying for care can contact their local Early Learning Resource Center at www.raiseyourstar.org.

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