CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – More money is still available to help North Carolina childcare centers bounce back from the pandemic.
In October 2021, Governor Cooper announced the launch of the North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants, a historic, federal $805 million investment in the state’s early care and learning programs.
Since the launch of the program, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has distributed over $340 million to nearly 4,100 child care centers across the state.
For nearly 30 years Nana’s Place Learning Center has enriched the young minds of children across Mecklenburg County, but March 2020 threw a wrench in their plans.
“The pandemic affected us tremendously. We had to actually close some classrooms, we were closed for a while, we laid off staff,” said director and owner Karen Jones.
Nana’s Place received its first installment of the grant funds in January. Nana’s Place Director Karen Jones says it was a saving Grace.
“We provided bonuses, 401K, and health insurance,” she said.
They were also able to bring back more staff and fully fund field trips and extracurricular activities for students.
On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper visited Nana’s Place and encouraged other childcare centers to apply for these grants.
There are more than 400 million dollars left which can support staff bonuses, building renovations, health care, and other benefits.
The application for stabilization grants is open and conducted on a rolling basis.
“Attracting and retaining these educators is critically important, they’ve got to love their work to do this,” Cooper said.
These funds won’t last forever, childcare centers can only use them for 18 months; which is one reason why the Governor is pushing for more sustainable funding.
“I’m proposing additional help in my budget in the future and we’ve got to continue the efforts,” Cooper said.
Whether it’s health care benefits, salary increases, or new equipment – Jones says she’s grateful and looking forward to the extra support so they can continue doing what they do best.
“Our children deserve the best and we want to offer a quality education center,” she said.
The next installment will be sent to childcare centers by the end of this month.
If you are interested in learning more about these grants and applying, click here.
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