(The Center Square) – Georgia will use $95 million in federal aid to cover child care costs for about 50,000 children, officials announced this week.
The money for the program comes from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, which was signed into law in December by former President Donald Trump.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning will cover the parent share of costs for low-income Georgians already receiving a scholarship through its child care assistance program.
"Eliminating the family fee will significantly enhance families' access to quality child care during this time when their ability to pay child care co-payments may be impacted," Deputy Commissioner for Children and Parent Services Elisabetta Kasfir said in a statement.
The initiative will cover the parent share from the beginning of this week through the week of Oct. 2, 2022.
According to Childcare Aware of America, a network of child care agencies, the average annual price for full-time infant care in a child care center in Georgia is about $8,729. Officials said the federal-funded initiative would save qualified parents an average of $1,820 a year per child.
Parents still would be responsible for other costs such as transportation and meals.
Georgia ranked 32nd out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for its child care system in a recent report by financial website Wallethub.com. WalletHub evaluated child-care costs, pediatricians per capita, share of accredited child care centers, child-to-caretaker ratios and day care and school system quality.
Gov. Brian Kemp said available child care assistance was one of the reasons behind his decision last week to end additional federal unemployment for benefits for unemployed Georgians.
Kemp's office said last week state officials would provide resources such as job search support, education, training, child care, transportation and safe workplace initiatives for workers, families and employers.
"As more Georgians return to work, proud to partner with [The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning] to provide $95 million in [child care] funding to help lower-income families," Kemp said Friday in a tweet.