Child Care Strong 2021-10-15T17:38:52+00:00

Child Care Strong

Stabilization Grants

Welcome to the Child Care Strong grants, administered by MDHS’s Division of Early Childhood Care Department. These are grants offered to child care providers as a part of the American Rescue Plan and are designed to help with operating expenses. All of the information and application process for the Child Care Strong program will be available here. More information will be added as it becomes available, so please check back often!

Child Care Strong will be administered in the following three phases:

  • Phase one will include information on eligibility, how to apply, reporting on the use of funding, and evaluate current operating expenses.
  • Phase two will include application, awarding, and issuing of funding.
  • Phase three will include the closeout process for these funds.

Stay tuned for more information as Phases launch.

Eligibility for Child Care Strong:

Who is eligible for funding?

  • Providers who are licensed or registered and meet federal criteria are eligible.
  • Licensed providers and Non-relative In-home providers DO NOT have to be participating in the Child Care Payment Program (CCPP) to be eligible for this funding.
  • Some conditions will prevent providers from being awarded funding:
    • Any provider who has been found to have committed fraud/intentional program violation in the Child Care Payment Program within the past year is disqualified.
    • Any provider under revocation or suspension of their license or registration status with the MS Department of Health, Division of Child Care Licensure, or CCPP is disqualified.
    • Early Head Start or Head Start programs/grantees are not qualified.
    • Any program currently receiving state or local funding to cover operating expenses is not qualified, for example, Head Start programs, public Pre-K, etc.

Using Child Care Strong Funds:

How can I use these funds?

Per the American Rescue Plan Act language, child care providers must agree to use the funds for one or more of the following purposes:

Staff costs

Regular staff pay, benefits, premium pay (bonuses and/or raises), employee recruitment, and retention.

If the child care business is privately owned and operating as a sole proprietor or independent contractor, they may count themselves as an employee. Per the federal Office of Child Care, “Wages and benefits for child care program personnel, including increases in compensation for any staff in a child care center or family child care providers and their employees; health, dental, and vision insurance; scholarships; paid sick or family leave; and retirement contributions. Raising the wages of child care staff is a central part of stabilizing the industry, and lead agencies are strongly encouraged to prioritize this use of funds. Other examples of allowable personnel costs include ongoing professional development or training, premium or hazard pay, staff bonuses, and employee transportation costs to or from work. Child care providers may also use resources to support staff in accessing COVID-19 vaccines, including paid time off for vaccine appointments, managing side effects, and transportation costs to vaccine appointments. ARP Act Child Care Stabilization Grants | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov)

Mortgage/rent, utilities, facility maintenance and improvements, or insurance. 

Includes payments made for a mortgage, rent, utilities, maintenance costs, and insurance required to provide child care services. Improvements may be made to playgrounds, bathrooms, and the building, such as installing ramps and automatic doors and removing non-load-bearing walls to allow social distancing.

Per the federal Office of Child Care, “Rent (including rent under a lease agreement) or payment on any mortgage obligation, utilities, facility maintenance or improvements, or insurance. It also may include late fees or charges related to late payment. Allowable facility maintenance and improvements may include but are not limited to building or upgrading playgrounds, renovating bathrooms, installing railing, ramps, or automatic doors to make the facility more accessible, and removing non-load-bearing walls to create additional space for social distancing. Lead agencies should strive to include renovations needed to comply with safety guidance in the context of developmentally appropriate practice and a welcoming environment for children and families. In addition, maintenance and minor renovations to address COVID-19 concerns are appropriate. 

Lead agencies are encouraged to support child care providers in making any facilities improvements that make child care programs inclusive and accessible to children with disabilities and family members with disabilities.” (CCDF-ACF-IM-2021-02, ARP Act Child Care Stabilization Grants | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov)

Personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies, services, or training/professional development related to health and safety practices. 

Includes purchases for PPE, cleaning, and sanitation supplies and services. Costs for staff training or professional development related to health and safety practices are also allowable.

Click here to view a COVID-19 Health and Safety Supply list created by our federal partners in the Office of Head Start. Head Start Forward: COVID-19 Health and Safety Supply List (hhs.gov)

Per the federal Office of Child Care: “Uses of funds under this category are not limited to those designed specifically in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency and may include equipment, supplies, services, and training that support meeting state and local health and safety guidelines, including those related to the prevention and control of infection diseases, prevention of sudden infant death syndrome and use of safe sleep practices, administration of medication (consistent with standards for parental consent), prevention and response to emergencies due to food and allergic reactions, building and physical premises safety, prevention of shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma and child maltreatment, response planning for emergencies from a natural disaster or a man-caused event, handling and storage of hazardous materials and the appropriate disposal of bio contaminants, appropriate precautions in transporting children, pediatric first-aid and CPR, and recognition and reporting of child abuse and neglect.” (CCDF-ACF-IM-2021-02, ARP Act Child Care Stabilization Grants | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov))

Goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services.   

Includes any good or service necessary to provide child care services.  This category may also include fees associated with licensing and items needed to meet licensing requirements.

Per the federal Office of Child Care: “This category includes any material good or service necessary for the operation of a child care program. We encourage lead agencies to treat this term broadly, in accordance with the breadth of the language used in the statute, so that child care providers can flexibly meet their individual needs.  Examples of goods that might be necessary to maintain or resume child care services include food and equipment and materials to facilitate play, learning, eating, diapering and toileting, or safe sleep.  Examples of services that are allowable include business automation training and support services, shared services, child care management services, food services, and transportation.   The category also covers fees associated with licensing and costs associated with meeting licensing requirements.” (CCDF-ACF-IM-2021-02, ARP Act Child Care Stabilization Grants | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov))

Goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services. 

Includes any good or service necessary to provide child care services.

This category may also include fees associated with licensing and items needed to meet licensing requirements.

Per the federal Office of Child Care: “This category includes any material good or service necessary for the operation of a child care program. We encourage lead agencies to treat this term broadly, in accordance with the breadth of the language used in the statute, so that child care providers can flexibly meet their individual needs. Examples of goods that might be necessary to maintain or resume child care services include food and equipment and materials to facilitate play, learning, eating, diapering, and toileting, or safe sleep. Examples of services that are allowable include business automation training and support services, shared services, child care management services, food services, and transportation. The category also covers fees associated with licensing and costs associated with meeting licensing requirements.” (CCDF-ACF-IM-2021-02, ARP Act Child Care Stabilization Grants | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov))

Mental health supports for children and employees. 

Includes mental health consultation services for children and employees. May include fees associated with providing education to families and staff related to infant and early childhood mental health.

Per the federal Office of Child Care: “Providers may use these funds to support the mental health of children and employees. Infant and early childhood mental health consultation (IECMHC), an evidence-based, prevention-based strategy that teams mental health professionals with people who work with young children and their families to improve their social, emotional, and behavioral health and development in the settings where children learn and grow, is one example of an allowable mental health support. The well-being of caregivers is also important to stabilize the child care sector because the mental health and well-being of staff impact training, recruitment, retention, and the level of care provided to children. Mental health consultations for staff and other types of mental health supports to staff are also allowable.”  (CCDF-ACF-IM-2021-02, ARP Act Child Care Stabilization Grants | The Administration for Children and Families (hhs.gov))

Child Care Strong Awards:

Calculating Awards: 

Funding amounts are designed to provide operating expenses for a provider to cover a period of six months.

These payments will include a base award, with the possibility of additional funding amounts for providers who meet specific criteria.

Base Award Calculation

Several factors will be used to calculate the base award amount for qualified providers, including:

  • The cost of care for children in centers across the state identified in the most recent Market Rate Survey
  • The provider’s maximum capacity, as identified by the Mississippi Department of Health
  • The number of full-time vs. part-time center operations.

How much will I receive?

Funding awards for base rates will depend on several factors and are designed to provide operating expenses for a period of six months.  The base payment for awards will be based on information from the most recent Market Rate Survey regarding the cost of care for children in centers across the state.  Additionally, MDHS considered the maximum capacity identified by the information system with the Mississippi Department of Health, Division of Child Care Licensure to determine award amounts.  Full-time vs. part-time operating hours are also a factor.  Note: Due to available funding, no single provider can be awarded more than $400,000 for their base rate. The table below identifies the base award amount that providers will receive based on these factors:

Small Provider Operation Full-Time, Full-Year
(Licensed or Registered Capacity 0-16)
$1,061 per child, per month for six months
Small Provider Operation Part-Time, Full-Year
(Licensed or Registered Capacity 0-16)
$530.5 per child, per month for six months
Medium Provider Operating Full-Time, Full-Year
(Licensed OR Registered Capacity 17-37)
$776 per child, per month for six months
Medium Provider Operating Part-Time, Full-Year
(Licensed OR Registered Capacity 17-37)
$388 per child, per month for six months
Large Provider Operating Full-Time, Full-Year
(Licensed OR Registered Capacity 37+)
$730 per child, per month for six months
Large Provider Operating Part-Time, Full-Year
(Licensed OR Registered Capacity 37+)
$365 per child, per month for six months

Additional Bonus Funding Calculation

In addition to awarding grants based on provider size and operating schedule, MDHS will give bonuses to providers who meet the following criteria:

Providers who serve CCDF children will receive an additional $653.58 total (not per child).

Providers whose licensing/registration records indicate that they serve children with special needs (base rate + 10%)

Providers whose licensing/registration records indicate that they offer 24-hour care (base rate + 20%).

Providers who are operating in areas of the state identified as having the greatest number of social vulnerabilities, as determined by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) are eligible to receive additional supplemental funding.

Social vulnerabilities include low average income, housing shortage/inadequacies, transportation challenges, language barriers, etc.  The Centers for Disease Control have developed a Social Vulnerability Index for each state, county, and zip code in the United States.   MDHS will be giving bonuses to providers who are located in the most at-risk locations according to the Social Vulnerability Index:

  • In areas with an SVI of 0-0.49, providers will receive their base amount + 10%.
  • In areas with an SVI of 5-0.749, providers will receive their base amount + 20%.
  • In areas with an SVI of 75-1.0, providers will receive their base amount + 30%.

FAQs:

All providers will be required to complete and submit an application for funding.

Providers who do not participate in the Child Care Payment Program will also have to register with MDHS in order for the agency to be able to release funding and issue the appropriate tax documents.

If a provider’s per month operating cost is in excess of the rate included in the award calculation, they must provide documentation of one month’s operating expenses to be eligible for an increased award amount.

Providers are required to be open AND serving children during the grant period.

Providers are required to operate in accordance with state and local requirements and, to the greatest extent possible, guidance from the CDC as related to Covid-19 protocols (Guidance for COVID-19 | CDC).

Providers may not decrease salaries or weekly wages or benefits for any employee during the grant period.

Providers are encouraged not to collect copayments or tuition payments from families during the grant period to the extent possible and prioritize such relief for families struggling to make either type of payment.

If a provider is unable to provide relief from tuition payments for all families enrolled in the program, they should prioritize doing so for families most in need and target families earning below 85 percent of the State Median Income.

Providers will have to submit monthly reports detailing how funding was spent.

Providers will remain eligible during a temporary closure due to positive COVID-19 outbreaks within the program.

Yes.  Providers may receive subsidy payments during the grant period.

No.  Base award amounts will be issued based on a provider’s allowed capacity; however, providers do not have to have full enrollment in order to receive the full award amount.

Yes.  Providers may receive funds under this award even if they have received federal funds issued through the Small Business Administration.

Child Care Payment Program participating providers will receive this award amount in the same manner as their monthly subsidy payments.  If you have opted for a paper check or direct deposit, these funds will be issued the same way.

Non-CCPP participating providers will receive a paper check.  Direct deposit is not an option.

If your check is lost, stolen, or damaged, please submit a request for a replacement.

A provider not meeting the requirements for receipt of funds under this award will have future award payments stopped, prior payments recouped, and/or submitted to the Office of Inspector General for additional investigation.

Programs should plan to expend these funds during the grant period if at all possible.  Programs are allowed to use these funds as reimbursement for any allowable use not already covered by other federal funds occurring between March 2020 and the grant period.

Funds received under this funding are not a loan and will not be paid back as long as funds were expended for allowable uses by eligible providers.

English English Español Español Tiếng Việt Tiếng Việt