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Grant Funding to Address “Child Care Deserts” in the Finger Lakes Region

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Grant Funding to Address “Child Care Deserts” in the Finger Lakes Region

Funding will support new child care programs or expanding child care businesses
that help alleviate care shortages

New and existing child care businesses in the Finger Lakes region will have an opportunity to access grant funding to help address “child care deserts” – areas in the region with child care shortages.

Child Care Council Inc. is working with three other child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) to partner with New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to offer federal grant funding to new licensed, registered or permitted child care programs in areas of the state with low supply. OCFS is making $70 million in grant funding available statewide to new licensed, registered or permitted child care programs. These funds are part of a $100 million child care initiative approved in the 2021 Enacted Budget through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The grants will support new child care providers in creating their child care program and in recruiting, retaining and training staff to meet workforce demands. Grant recipients can also use the funding to support start-up expenses, personnel costs, general child care business expenses and staff expenses in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Additional details on eligibility and requirements of the grant can be found in the Request for Applications at https://ocfs.ny.gov/main/contracts/funding/#RFA1.

Grant applications will be accepted beginning April 11, 2022, and the application deadline is May 19, 2022. Interested child care businesses must apply on the OCFS website at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/deserts/. Applicants must request an application for license before grant application submission. All applicants must complete the OCFS or the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene online orientation before applying at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/providers/cdc-orientation.php. Once completing the orientation, applicants can request a licensing application.

Applicants needing assistance with starting child care programs can contact their county’s OCFS Regional Office (https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/regional-offices.php) or their local child care resource and referral agency, which can help with the licensing process. Regional CCR&R offices are:

  • Child Care Council Inc., serving Monroe, Livingston and Wayne counties – childcarecouncil.com
  • Chemung County Child Care Council Inc. – chemchildcare.com
  • Child and Family Resources Inc., serving Ontario, Seneca, and Yates counties – cfresources.org
  • Pro Action Child Care Council – proactioninc.org/cca

Jeff Pier, Child Care Council CEO, said, “Child Care Council is pleased to partner with New York state to address child care shortages in Monroe, Livingston and Wayne counties. There was a care shortage in our urban and rural communities before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the pandemic simply made the crisis worse. This funding opportunity will help fill the gap for families that don’t have access to child care, while also helping new child care businesses get up and running and enabling existing providers to expand.”

Ruth A. Harvey, executive director, Chemung County Child Care Council Inc., said, “In Chemung County, we see a continued need for additional quality child care slots for children of working families, especially infant and toddler care. This funding presents the chance for expansion in current programs as well as the opportunity for new programs to help meet the demand. New York state’s vision for the expansion of quality child care slots across the entire state will benefit many children and families.”

Julie Champion, executive director, Child and Family Resources Inc., said, “We have had an ongoing need for additional quality child care slots for children of working families in Ontario, Seneca, and Yates Counties, especially in more rural areas. The need is even greater for infant and toddler care. New Child Care Desert funding provides an opportunity for new child care programs and an expansion of slots in existing child care programs. Working families, children, our communities – and New York –needs this investment.”

Margie Lawlor, director, Pro Action Child Care Council, said, “Parts of our region lack sufficient child care options for all ages, and the entire region lacks sufficient child care options for infants and toddlers. This Child Care Desert funding is a great opportunity for local providers to open or expand. With this investment, we can begin to address the child care shortages that hold parents back from fully participating in the workforce.”

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