Oklahoma Human Services Announces Child Care Services Sustainability Plan - Support interventions to be funded by newest coronavirus relief package
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Keili McEwen, Chief of Strategic Engagement
OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan. 12, 2020) – Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) announced today that Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) dollars authorized by federal coronavirus relief legislation last month will be used to fund a number of continued, as well as new, interventions to support Oklahoma children and families and the child care industry.
This Child Care Services Sustainability Plan will allow families and their child care providers to plan how to allocate resources through August of 2021. Interventions are subject to receipt of the federal fiscal allocation to OKDHS, and more information will be released upon guidance from the Administration for Children & Families. This plan may also not be exhaustive. As the pandemic evolves over the next few months, additional supports may be provided.
“We realize that the COVID-19 crisis has presented many unexpected challenges over the last year and are proud of Oklahoma’s commitment to support families and children by investing in our child care programs,” said OKDHS Director of Child Care Services, Brittany Lee. “We are committed to meeting an immediate need, but also evaluating the available funding to ensure we are prepared to respond to how this year will evolve. We know the critical role child care plays in ensuring the success of our economy.”
These interventions are informed by the OKDHS Child Care Services True North goals. More information about the agency’s True North strategies is available at www.ourokdhs.org.
Continued family supports through August 2021:
- Coverage of subsidy co-payment for families, paid directly to providers (benefits both families and programs)
- Kith.care provided for designated essential health care employees and other emergency responders (waiver of financial eligibility requirements)
- Sixty days of childcare subsidy for those unemployed due to COVID and currently looking to re-engage in the workforce (short-term waiver of financial eligibility requirements and work requirement)
Child care program supports through August 2021:
- Continuation of $5 added to subsidy rate per child per day based on attendance
- All school-age children approved for the weekly rate
- Business training resources for providers to build expertise in planning and budgeting to prepare for ongoing COVID impact
- Additional child care quality and sustainability payment based on capacity and facility STAR level
Child care staff supports through August 2021:
- Four stipends awarded to program staff with 30 hours of professional development (an increase from two stipends)
- Additional training opportunities through OU-CECPD at no cost to the workforce
In addition, all child care providers will be eligible for additional Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and providers are encouraged to apply. PPP applies to child care businesses that have experienced a year-over-year quarterly reduction in gross receipts of 25% or more. Providers are encouraged to consult with their financial institutions for further details and to apply.
About OKDHS Child Care Services True North Goals:
Since mid-2019, OKDHS has been building a strategy that aligns limited resource availability around specific priorities determined by the agency. This effort, referred to as ‘True North’ is intended to allow the agency to prioritize resource allocation and investment.
In April of 2020, OKDHS developed the following True North priorities associated with increased and unanticipated funding to the Child Care and Development Block Grant through the federal CARES Act.
These True North priorities are intended to provide guidance in determining stimulus interventions subsequent to the initial CARES Act funding.
OKDHS Child Care Services and CARES ‘True North’ Goals
- CCS TN 1 – Improve the quality of, and access to, child care programs in the state;
- CCS TN 2 – Enhance a high-quality workforce through professional development;
- CCS TN 3 – Improve collaboration with child care providers, communities, DHS divisions, and other state agencies then, in partnership, develop and utilize resources to improve the overall services for licensed programs, children/youth and families.
- CARES TN 1 - Supporting the state’s healthcare and first responder workforce during the COVID response;
- CARES TN 2 – Promoting economic restoration, following unprecedented levels of unemployment, by providing childcare for jobseekers returning to work;
- CARES TN 3 – Promoting educational engagement and prevention of learning loss and regression during periods of school recess related to COVID;
- CARES TN 4 - Promoting equity for children and families;
- CARES TN 5 - Preparation for future pandemic response, including potential subsequent waves of COVID. The CARES Act Funding is intended to last through federal fiscal year 2022 (9/30/2022)