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Volume 5, Issue 95  |  November 27, 2020


OC Supervisors approve $5 million grant benefiting child care programs

On October 28, the County of Orange Child Care Relief Fund announced the portal for child care providers to apply for funding to sustain their operations. 

Orange County Supervisors unanimously allocated $5 million in CARES Act emergency funding to support licensed Orange County family child care homes and center-based child care programs – providing an important lifeline to local providers struggling to survive the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The funds will be distributed by Charitable Ventures to qualified early care and education providers in Orange County. 

“This CARES Act funding is critical to rebuilding Orange County’s economy and making it possible for parents to go back to work knowing their children are safe and receiving quality care,” said Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee. “Our workforce depends on quality child care and I’m pleased we received unanimous support from all the Supervisors.” 

“Parents have long struggled to find accessible and affordable child care,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Do, First District Supervisor. “The pandemic has only exacerbated challenges for working families who depend on child care services. Orange County’s COVID-19 Child Care Relief Program will allow for a safe and reliable space for children to stay, as we continue to rebuild our economy.” 

The funds may be used by eligible licensed or licensed-exempt child care providers in Orange County to pay staff, purchase supplies, help cover mortgage and rental costs, and business resilience and environmental improvements for children’s learning spaces. 

The grant process will be guided by a committee of representatives from First 5 Orange County, Early Childhood OC, Charitable Ventures and the Local Planning Council representative. Funds will be dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis to all eligible applicants. The application is available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. 

“We are thrilled to be able to support the administration of this relief program through Charitable Ventures. Support like this will play an important role in ensuring survival for many Orange County’s child care providers, particularly those serving the infant and toddler population,” said First 5 Orange County President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Goll. “Even before the pandemic, there were not enough child care providers to support demand in Orange County.” 

“These relief funds come at a critical time,” said Anne Olin, president and chief executive officer of Charitable Ventures. “Emergency funding for small businesses forced to close due to the pandemic is a critical component of helping our economy recover and supporting working families.” 

Earlier this month, First 5 Orange County published a detailed report that underscored the harsh child care landscape parents and providers alike are currently facing. The Orange County Child Care Landscape Analysis found there are currently only enough licensed slots to care for 5 percent of the county’s children between the ages of 0 and 2. Meanwhile, the analysis determined that, even if only one-third of infants and toddlers in Orange County required child care, there would still only be enough licensed capacity for one in seven children. Exacerbating the lack of licensed child care spots, many Orange County working families are stymied by the high price of care, which averages $15,650 yearly for one child and more than $26,000 for two children in full-time, licensed care. The high price of care and lack of availability are functions of the high costs to deliver care, and other factors included in the full report.

The analysis pointed out that the COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the crisis. Nearly half of Orange County’s child care providers closed their programs from mid-March to early June, and then began reopening with new requirements and reduced capacities to maintain social distancing guidelines. 

 Grant applications will be accepted during a two-week window, from October 30 through November 13 at 5 p.m. All funds received must be spent on qualified expenses by December 30, 2020.   

To apply for funding or for more information go here.

To view the Orange County Child Care Landscape Analysis, visit http://occhildrenandfamilies.com/childcare/.

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