Maryland’s state education department is now accepting applications for a grant program for child care providers that experienced financial hardships and other challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) will distribute $50 million in grant funding through its Child Care Stabilization Grant Program as part of the third round of stabilization grants, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday.
“Child care has been critical to our recovery efforts in Maryland, and making sure providers have the resources they need to operate remains a top priority,” Hogan said in a statement. “Our administration is grateful to our state’s child care providers for their unwavering commitment over the last two years, and we look forward to working closely with them to allocate this additional relief.”
The funds can be used for “personnel costs, rent or mortgage payments, personal protective equipment (PPE), mental health support for children and employees, and other expenses.”
Any providers currently operating a licensed child care facility, including family home child care, child care center, or an education program, can apply.
Applications will be accepted now through Monday, Aug. 29, and grants will be awarded in fiscal years 2022 and 2023.
“As essential partners in early childhood education, Maryland’s child care providers build the foundation for the healthy growth, development, and academic achievement of our state’s children,” State Superintendent of Schools Mohammed Choudhury said in a statement. “This funding will help further strengthen the child care community, increase access to quality child care, and ensure equitable access for every child, especially those who have been historically underserved.
MSDE will prioritize child care providers who have faced financial burdens that have threatened their business to potentially close within the next year; those who participate in the Child Care Scholarship Program and have not previously received a stabilization grant; and providers who serve low–income areas, special needs children, and children 2 years old and under.
“As the repercussions of the pandemic continue to impact our learning communities, our family child care and center-based providers and families have held strong,” Choudhury said. “MSDE remains committed to supporting our early childhood educators, who are critical in fostering a positive trajectory for the state’s youngest learners.”
Interested applicants can visit the program’s website for more information on the grant and application process, and to attend a virtual customer service support session.