New Jersey Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman announced this week that the state is extending several COVID-19-related childcare assistance programs through the end of June to support families and child care providers impacted by the pandemic.
The extensions include programs that have helped families pay for childcare during remote schooling and support the sustainability of childcare providers.
“This has been a difficult time for everyone, but parents can now know that these critical childcare programs will continue helping through the remainder of the school year,” Acting Commissioner Adelman said. “We have worked hard to use all resources and means to help working families and the childcare sector, and remain very concerned about the data that shows women have faced difficult choices to leave their jobs during this pandemic. With these extensions, we hope to provide families and the childcare industry some peace of mind for the rest of the school year.”
The following COVID-related childcare initiatives are extended through the end of June:
- State Childcare Subsidy during School Day: Extending state childcare subsidies for childcare during the school day for school-age children 5-to-13 years old. Under this initiative, currently enrolled and newly enrolled school-age children are eligible for state subsidy funding for childcare services throughout the school day at licensed childcare centers or registered family childcare providers. Traditionally, school-age children receive the subsidy for before- and after-school care, but this initiative extends the program to the school day due to remote learning schedules.
- Childcare Tuition Assistance for Children in Families Earning up to $150,000 and in Remote Learning: Extending childcare tuition assistance for families currently enrolled in this program. Tuition assistance has been made available to families with incomes up to $150,000 not eligible for the state Childcare Subsidy Program but in need of either full- or part-time childcare due to their child’s school’s remote learning schedule. For families who have been approved for this assistance, Human Services will continue to pay their selected providers for their school age children 5-to-13 years old in childcare due to remote learning.
- Supporting Childcare Centers:
- Continuing to pay childcare providers a supplemental payment of $300 per subsidy-eligible child, including infants, toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children.
- Continuing to pay childcare providers based on the number of enrolled children who receive state assistance in their program, rather than attendance.
The extensions are being funded with federal funding provided by the latest COVID-19 relief law.
Human Services also continues to waive parent copays in the childcare subsidy program for parents who request it due to impacts from COVID-19.
Before the pandemic, Human Services reduced copayments by 50% for parents who receive state assistance paying for childcare, saving New Jersey families $23 million per year.
Human Services also recently invested $12.6 million in the childcare subsidy program, which helps families with lower-to-moderate incomes who are working, in training or in school afford childcare. The increase was effective Jan. 3, helping childcare centers implement the Jan. 1 minimum wage increase, boosting subsidies by 3% for infant care and 2.5% for other age groups. Before the pandemic, the Murphy administration had already invested nearly $100 million into New Jersey’s childcare assistance program – after childcare subsidy payment rates had remained relatively flat for a decade – and worked to improve quality and access to childcare.
For more information on the state’s child care program please visit childcarenj.gov.