On Thursday, County Executive Joe Parisi announced Dane County will create a $3.5 million grant program for roughly 500 Dane County child care providers to help offset revenue losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The County Board approved the spending Thursday night.
Community Coordinated Child Care, Inc. (4-C) will administer the grants, according to a press release.
“This funding will provide a much-needed boost to child care providers, which are so critical as conversations progress about slowly and safely opening our community back up,” County Executive Joe Parisi said in a statement. “Any sustainable re-opening strategy will need child care as parents and guardians go back to work. I want to thank Community Coordinated Child Care, Inc. for agreeing to partner with us on this important effort.”
Dane County’s grant amounts will vary based on the size of the provider, spanning from $1,400 to $15,000. Eligible child care providers include: certified family, licensed family, licensed group, summer camp, and licensed school age. In total, around 500 providers countywide will benefit from the funding.
Locally, 78% of family child care programs are still open, while only 35% of group child care programs are. Without help, roughly half of U.S. child care capacity is at risk of disappearing, according to a recent analysis from the Center for American Progress. The study projects Wisconsin could see about 30% of its child care lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“4-C is proud to partner with Dane County to support the critical work of the early care and education community,” Jody Bartnick, Executive Director of Community Coordinated Child Care, said in a statement. “Access to quality early childhood is essential for our communities’ workforce. It’s so important that we work together and help those most in need. Funding will support child care programs and their ability to sustain or reopen their operations as we move forward through these challenging times.”
4-C is part of a network of accredited, non-profit Wisconsin Child Care Resource & Referral agencies providing advocacy and support services for child care in 11 Wisconsin counties. The agency strives to ensure that every child has access to high quality early care and education through integrated support and expertise.
“I’m sure those with young children at home would agree, quality childcare is not only central to the lives of working parents, it is a building block to a strong economy,” County Board Chair Analiese Eicher said in a statement. “Childcare will play a critical role as we recover from this pandemic. That is why Dane County has developed this initiative to make sure providers are able to stay in business and be there when families need them.”