Cooper announces over $655 million in childcare stabilization grants

Gov. Roy Cooper is pictured in this Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 file photo, in Raleigh. (AP Photo/Bryan Anderson, File)

RALEIGH — On Oct. 18, Gov. Roy Cooper announced over $655 million in childcare stabilization grants which will be given to over 4,200 childcare centers in the state.

“High-quality early learning gets children the strong start they need while allowing parents to stay in or get back into the workforce,” said Cooper in the statement. “These funds will help raise pre-school teacher pay so we can keep them in the profession to continue educating, nurturing and supporting our children.” 

“This grant helped us fill some of the voids and help our teachers, teacher assistants, and our support staff through the hardships and sacrifices they have endured since March 2020. Because the stabilization grant allowed us to offer bonuses, paid wellness days, and benefits and resources such as mental wellness training to our incredible teachers and teacher assistants, we were able to retain and recruit caring, committed professionals,” Davina DeBerry, assistant director of State Line Children’s World said.

According to the release, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has distributed more than $655 million to over 4,200 childcare centers and family childcare homes through the Child Care Stabilization Grant program. 

NCDHHS announced in September that the grant program would be extended to support early care and learning teacher pay through December 2023. The NCDHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education will use about $150 million in discretionary ARPA funding allocated for workforce initiatives to continue compensation supports, per the statement.

“Over the course of the pandemic, a historic $1.9 billion in one-time federal dollars has been invested in NC’s child care system to stabilize it, keeping child care programs across the state open and teachers working,” Cooper’s statement says.

NCDHHS’ dashboard for the program shows two counties have received more funding than others, Wake with almost $82 million and Mecklenburg with over $83 million.

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A.P. Dillon is a North State Journal reporter located near Raleigh, North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_