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Virginia looking to spend COVID relief child care funds

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(The Center Square) — Virginia has received more than $1 billion in COVID-19 relief funding for its child care sector since the beginning of the pandemic, and it continues to appropriate those funds as the deadline to disburse more than $763 million approaches.

The federal government apportioned $52.5 billion to the child care industry in three pandemic relief packages, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act of 2020’s first stimulus package provided $70.8 million to the commonwealth’s child care sector.

In early 2021, Virginia received nearly $204 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act to continue to meet child care needs.

The American Rescue Plan Act was passed in March 2021, contributing approximately $489 million to the state’s child care stabilization funds and $305 million to its supplemental child care funds.

Stabilization funds are intended to help “stabilize the hard-hit child care sector during and after the pandemic,” while the supplemental funds are to “help families pay for child care and expand quality options available to support healthy child development,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

States have until Sept. 30 to spend all but the supplemental child care funds from the relief funds they have received.

In light of this, Fairfax County’s Department of Neighborhood and Community Services announced this week that $2.5 million is available in grants to eligible child care providers, inviting them to apply by July 21.

“Data at the national, regional and local levels combined with the county’s experience and testimonies from local child care providers, points to the ongoing negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on child care providers in Fairfax County,” according to the county.

The county has partnered with The Latino Economic Development Center, an organization with offices in Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and Puerto Rico, to administer the grant.

The LEDC “equips Latinos and other underserved communities with the skills and financial tools to create a better future for their families and communities,” according to its website.

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