Baltimore County will provide $2.5 million in grants for licensed childcare providers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced Tuesday.
The grants are made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and the county plans to use them to help Baltimore County childcare providers still struggling from the financial impact of the COVID pandemic and resulting underenrollment.
Olszewski is hopeful the money can help stabilize childcare providers for whom recovery efforts are still falling short.
“High-quality healthcare keeps children safe, engaged and healthy — and it is absolutely essential for our working parents in Baltimore County,” he said in a statement. “These grants will help providers stay in business, rebuild from the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to nurture our youngest of learners.”
In a news release, county officials acknowledged the wide-ranging effects of the pandemic on childcare providers. They cited a lack of attendance coupled with increased safety and healthcare costs, resulting in caused financial losses for these providers, most of whom are small businesses.
The Maryland Family Network conducted a survey which revealed that “67% of child care businesses owners reported a financial loss due to the closures and reduced attendance. The majority of respondents reported losing between $1,000 – $5,000 per week of closure.”
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen emphasized the critical importance of access to quality childcare.
“Early learning is essential for our children’s future success, but COVID imposed huge hardships on childcare providers across our state,” he said. “Through the American Rescue Plan, we provided local leaders with resources to meet critical community needs and I’m glad to see the County Executive investing these funds to strengthen access to quality child care for Baltimore County’s families and children.”
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger placed this support in a larger economic context.
“We can’t talk about strengthening our economy without talking about how families care for their children while they are working,” he said. “The ARPA was and is a lifeline for small childcare businesses in Maryland – 67 percent of which reported a financial loss due to closures and reduced attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud to have supported this federal funding to help keep childcare workers on payroll while providing a vital community need.”
According to the county’s news release, grantees will receive $5,000 to support their childcare operation in its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds must be used by Dec. 31, 2024.
Allowable expenditures include:
- Personnel costs
- Rent/Mortgage, utilities, facilities, maintenance, and insurance
- Personal protective equipment, cleaning, and other health and safety practices
- Equipment and Supplies
- Goods and services necessary for the operation of a childcare program
- Mental Health Services
If the number of qualifying and complete applications that the county receives exceeds the amount of grant monies available, funding will be awarded in the order applications were received.
To be eligible, applicants should have 14 or fewer registered childcare slots and must have been licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education on or before March 11, 2021. Towson-based Abilities Network will administer the grant program, distribute grant payments, and verify childcare licenses.
The application and full information about the grants are available on Baltimore County’s ARPA webpage. Application submissions will be accepted via email from Monday, May 22 at 9 a.m. through Friday, June 2 at 5 p.m.
Those interested in applying for the grants are encouraged to attend the Baltimore County ARPA Childcare Support Grant webinar on Monday, May 15 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Interested organizations can register here.