(The Center Square) – New Hampshire is getting a fresh infusion of federal money to help buoy child care providers, many of whom are struggling to stay afloat amid the pandemic.
Gov. Chris Sununu announced Tuesday that the state was getting a $20 million grant from a COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress and signed into law by former President Donald Trump last month. He said the fresh infusion of federal funds "will assist in the continued stabilization of child-care programs" in the state.
“Child-care programs have offered much stability and a sense of normalcy for many of New Hampshire’s children, and the state has supported the needs of the industry through the pandemic with innovative, record level funding streams, Sununu said in a statement.
The Sununu administration said the grants will be awarded based on a formula that takes into account "support to families who may be vulnerable" and "those working in jobs critical to New Hampshire's economy, such as health care, long-term care, hospitality and retail."
Other factors will include the number of classrooms in a child care facility, the number of staff directly working with children and families and the percent of children enrolled and receiving the New Hampshire Child Care Scholarship, according to the Sununu administration.
Providers that qualify for the funding can use the money for payroll, income loss, expanding occupancy, materials and supplies, staff development and tuition and fees.
State restrictions aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus have limited classroom sizes and hours from any child care providers, which has worsened their financial situation.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen warns that many of the state's child care providers won't survive without federal intervention. She has filed a bill aimed at alleviating the shortage of child care workers that would provide regular grants to states to expand programs.
"For many working parents in New Hampshire, access to affordable child care is the difference between being able to return to work and provide for their families and forgoing employment because child care providers aren’t available or are financially out of reach,” the Democrat said in a statement. "In order to get our economy back up and running, Congress needs to address the child care crisis families are facing."
President Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9 trillion relief plan that includes additional funding for child-care programs. Congress is expected to take up the measure next week.