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Governor Hochul Announces Portal Now Open for $30 Million in Additional Federal Funding to Expand Existing Child Care Programs in Child Care Deserts

 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the portal is now open to apply for $30 million in additional federal grant funding to expand existing child care programs in areas of the state without sufficient child care slots, known as child care deserts. The funds, which are part of the $100 million child care desert initiative approved in the FY 2022 Enacted Budget, are being made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and will be administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.

"As a young mom, I had to leave my job due to lack of access to child care, so I know how important this lifeline is for working parents," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will help expand the availability of quality child care for New Yorkers and remove child care deserts across New York State. With our historic $7 billion investment in child care as part of the State Budget, we will continue to provide parents with this much-needed support as part of our economic recovery." 
The grants will help existing child care providers in underserved areas, and the request for applications (RFA) has two parts. The first focuses on expanding child care in existing day care centers and school-age child care programs, with bonus funding for those slots specifically designated for infants/toddlers and/or children with special needs. The second part of the RFA focuses on expanding specific types of child care in existing small child care centers, family child care programs and group family child care programs - whose enrollment is under capacity - specifically for infants/toddlers or children with special needs, or if the program wants to expand their hours to include nontraditional hours.
Allowable expenses include program development costs and short-term program operating expenses, including:
  • Personnel costs, including payroll, salaries or similar employee compensation, employee benefits, retirement costs and educational costs
  • Supporting staff expenses for accessing COVID-19 vaccines
  • Rent or payment of some facility mortgage and utilities
  • Training and technical assistance expenses, including professional development, business trainings and business services  
Providers may click here for more information on the RFA. Grant applications will be accepted from July 20, 2022, until August 24, 2022, with award announcements slated for September.
The FY 2023 Budget includes a historic investment to expand access to high-quality child care to support children and families and help stimulate New York State’’s continued economic recovery. It includes an unprecedented $7 billion investment over four years and increases the income eligibility threshold for child care subsidies in August 2022 to 300 percent of the state income standard ($83,250 for a family of four) - extending eligibility to more than half of New York State’’s young children.
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole said, "These grants further support our child care providers, who are the backbone of the industry, and underscore the importance of child care access for families with infants, toddlers and children with special needs, and those who need coverage during untraditional hours."
For this funding opportunity, child care deserts are defined as census tracts where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot, or there are no available child care slots in the tract. Based on this criteria, more than 60% of New York State is considered a child care desert. All census tracts in New York State have been mapped depending on the number of available slots, and potential child care providers can review the child care desert map to discern appropriate locales. Additional details on eligibility and requirements of the grant can be found in the RFA.