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Hartselle Enquirer

Alabama DHR announces grants for stabilizing childcare workforce

Special to the Enquirer

Alabama’s childcare workers may be eligible for quarterly bonus payments of up to $1,500 through grants announced this past week by the Alabama Department of Human Resources.

The Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants supply funding to help childcare providers recruit and retain qualified employees as the industry recovers from the pandemic.

Funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.

“The pandemic has underscored the importance of accessible childcare and the crucial role our providers serve for Alabama’s families, workforce and economy,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “This immediate investment in childcare providers and their dedicated workers will generate long-term benefits for our entire state.”

Eligible childcare providers can apply beginning Nov. 29 to receive funding for quarterly bonus payments of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees. The two-year grant period is scheduled to end in September 2023, meaning eligible employees may receive up to eight bonus payments.

Providers must submit separate applications for each quarter within the time frames listed in the grant schedule.

To qualify, childcare providers must have been licensed to operate March 11, 2021, the date the American Rescue Plan Act was signed into law. They also must be in operation on the dates they apply, and they must continue operating for at least one year after receiving a grant.

Providers are ineligible if they are on probation or if their licenses are suspended or revoked.

Additional eligibility criteria, along with applications, grant schedules and other important information, are available at dhr.alabama.gov/child-care.

DHR is administering the grants through the Alabama Partnership for Children and the Talladega Clay Randolph Child Care Corporation.

This is the third grant opportunity DHR has offered to childcare providers during the pandemic. The two previous grant programs awarded a combined 2,427 grants totaling $56.8 million to help providers reopen and remain open.

Results from a DHR survey this past September showed 90 percent of licensed childcare providers were open for business. Twelve percent reported being open in March 2020.

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