Today, Governor Roy Cooper visited and toured Church Childcare Center Inc. in Walkertown. He discussed the $805 million investment in NC Child Care Stabilization Grants and the additional support these critical businesses could receive from President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda. The NC Child Care Stabilization Grants were made possible from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act.
“High-quality early childhood education is critical to building a stronger, more equitable state and helping more parents return to the workforce to grow our economy,” said Governor Cooper. “These stabilization grants coupled with the President’s Build Back Better agenda make it possible for North Carolina families to get the child care help they need to succeed.”
The Governor emphasized the important role quality child care and early learning plays in both preparing children for success and helping parents return to the workforce. President Biden’s Build Back Better framework, currently being negotiated in Congress, would likely invest billions of dollars in high-quality child care. The plan includes universal preschool for all 3 and 4-year olds and ensures that middle-class families pay no more than 7 percent of their income on child care. The plan would help most American families save more than half of their spending on child care.
“Opportunity and well-being for everyone in North Carolina starts right here, in places like the Church Childcare Center that provide early care and learning resources to the parents of young children,” said Susan Gale Perry, Deputy Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. “These Stabilization Grants are not just the single largest investment the federal government has ever made in early care and learning in our state—they are one of the single best investments we can make in opportunity and well-being for North Carolina.”
Church Childcare Center Inc. serves infants to 12-year-old children in the Piedmont area. The center offers child care, summer camp and after school care for infants, toddlers, preschool aged children and students up to the age of 12.
“Church Childcare has been in full operation since the onset of COVID-19. While this has been a challenging and stressful time for our team, we are so thankful to have the support of our community, parents, and staff,” said Theressa Stephens, Director and Owner of Church Childcare Center, Inc. “We have spent many hours and years advocating on behalf of early childhood and are so thankful to be a part of the stabilization grant opportunity. As we know, most working parents rely on quality childcare and our goal is to provide this plus more. With the stabilization grants our primary focus will be staff retention through much needed salary increases, maintain safety procedures, enhance quality features, and assist with meeting the needs of our families. We can’t thank our Governor enough for recognizing the importance of early childhood education, it truly takes a village!”
These historic NC Child Care Stabilization Grants, funded through the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, will help early care and learning programs with recruitment and retention and promote equity for children, parents and teachers.
All private, licensed early care and learning programs are eligible and encouraged to apply for Child Care Stabilization Grants, including for-profit and not-for-profit programs, family child care homes and faith-based centers. Grant recipients may use the funds for a range of activities including personnel costs; mental health supports; payments for rent, mortgage, utilities, facility maintenance, or insurance; personal protective equipment (PPE); equipment and supplies; and goods or services necessary to maintain or resume child care.
In North Carolina, more than $300 million in emergency funding has been directed toward the early care and learning system since March 2020, helping families, teachers and programs stay resilient during the COVID-19 crisis. These grants will further North Carolina’s efforts to support working families by providing them with access to high-quality, affordable child care.
The NC Economic Development Strategic Plan identifies access to high-quality early care and learning as a key strategy for building North Carolina’s economy. Employers benefit when working parents know their children are receiving quality care in a healthy environment. These grants will ensure that classrooms remain open to children, supporting parents as they pursue the educational and career goals that could lead them to more opportunities.
The Child Care Stabilization Grants application opened on October 11, 2021 and closes on October 31, 2021. To access the application, or to learn more about the program, visit https://ncchildcare.ncdhhs.gov/Home/Stabilization-Grants.
Video footage of this event will be available for media use here.
Photo coverage of this event will be available for media use here, credit to Walt Unks of the Winston-Salem Journal.