N.J. appropriates $100M for child care services

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation appropriating $100 million in American Rescue Plan funds to the Department of Community Affairs to support child care providers and the child care workforce through a number of initiatives, including providing grants for facilities improvements, business technical assistance, workforce development supports and a study of the child care landscape in the state.

The bill (S3990) was signed last Thursday, before the start of the July Fourth holiday weekend.

The legislation establishes the Child Care Revitalization Fund, which will provide financial support to licensed or registered child-care providers in the following way:

  • $15.5 million: To the Department of Community Affairs to create workforce development supports and conduct a child care landscape study;
  • $54.5 million: To the New Jersey Economic Development Authority for the purposes of providing technical assistance to licensed or registered child care providers and grants to child care providers for facilities improvements;
  • $30 million: To the Department of Human Services for the purpose of providing grants to licensed or registered child care providers or their employees for workforce retention and hiring.

“The COVID-19 pandemic laid bare the inequities created by the lack of access to affordable child care that many working families face,” Murphy said. “This funding, made possible by the (President Joe) Biden administration, will assist our child care providers and child care workforce that have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and beyond in our state.

“Without access to child care, many New Jerseyans are unable to work to provide for themselves and their families. This aid will be meaningful help for the many providers and child care employees that stepped up during the pandemic to take care of the children of essential workers and many others.”

Department of Children and Families Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer said the funding will have impact.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored how crucial child care centers and the workers they employ are to our state’s economy and the well-being of so many of our state’s children and families,” she said. “These businesses and workers will continue to be vital to our communities as we move through pandemic recovery. The funding provided by this statute will allow us to reinvest in these essential services and bolster the child care sector to better meet the changing needs of families moving forward.”