More COVID-19 relief funds coming to Nebraska child care providers

The final payment for the second round of Child Care Stability Grant funds will arrive to some child care providers in September.
The final payment for the second round of Child Care Stability Grant funds will arrive to some child care providers in September.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 10:44 PM CDT
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - More financial relief is on the way for child care centers across the state.

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, child care centers completely shut down. This caused several locations to lose both staff and clients.

Since then, funding has become available in order to lessen the effects of COVID.

The Child Care Stability Program derives from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act funds. Out of the $24 billion that became available from this grant nationwide, $140 million was allocated to the State of Nebraska. So far, $104 million has been awarded and $98 million has been distributed.

The first payment in the second round of funding was dispersed in June, but the final payment is expected to arrive this September.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Children and Family Services offered up this second round to providers. Nicole Vint, child care and development block grant administrator for the DHHS, noted the importance of this grant.

“Child care providers had to really adapt to various aspects of the pandemic over the last couple of years,” Vint said. “Staff, child ratios, the increased costs with cleaning supplies and food, attendance so, these funds are really dedicated to help either stabilize them to move forward, to invest in some of those things.”

Pooh Corner Daycare and Preschool in Hastings had to shut down at the start of the pandemic, and because of the amount of staff and clients they lost after reopening, their center had to completely close one of its locations.

Hope Pile, executive director of the child care center, told Local4 News they instantly jumped at the opportunity to receive funds from the child care stabilization program when it first became available.

“We went ahead and applied and were awarded the funds and, because of that, we were kind of get back up on our feet and keep the doors open for such an essential service in Hastings,” Pile said.

The fund helped Pooh Corner to purchase cleaning supplies, hire more employees, keep up with revenue during COVID-19 shutdowns, and also allowed the center to install sinks in each of the classrooms.

Pooh Corner is one of the 2,270 total recipients of these funds. DHHS accepted 302 applications for the second round, adding up to approximately $11 million dollars of funding.

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