State To Provide Childcare Support To Workers Pressed Into Action During Coronavirus Response
The state is seeking childcare providers to apply to a new emergency childcare collaborative, meant to provide support to parents who must still go to work in jobs deemed “essential” during the COVID-19 emergency.
The Department of Health and Human Services expects to open applications for its Emergency Childcare Collaborative no later than Monday and hopes to launch the program one week after that, by April 6.
Associate Health and Human Services Commissioner Christine Tappan says the state is trying to ensure families in all parts of the state have access to childcare, especially if they’re on call to provide essential services during the COVID-19 crisis.
Through the new program, Tappan says the state is trying to match available childcare providers with families or employers who need more support.
“The best examples right now are hospitals,” Tappan said. “We are working with several hospitals and long term care facilities, nursing homes to set up childcare centers.”
Childcare centers are designated as an essential business and will be allowed to remain open after Gov. Chris Sununu’s newly issued “stay at home” order takes effect.
Families looking for childcare providers can go to NH.childcareaware.org for a list of resources and more details on the new program. Additional details can also be found in this fact sheet produced by the state.
The state has set aside $4 million dollars to support this new program, which is run in partnership with the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. (The foundation is one of NHPR’s financial underwriters.)
Tappan said some of that money will support scholarships for families who need access to childcare, and some of it will also go toward child care centers who apply to serve families who still have to work during the COVID-19 crisis.
“This will translate into stipends that will go directly to childcare centers to support their needs, including staffing, operations, cleaning supplies,” Tappan said Friday.
Tappan said the state will need between 125 and 150 childcare providers to apply for this program to meet demand across the state. As of Thursday, she said more than 130 providers had expressed interest — but the state wants to encourage as many as possible to apply.