Deadline looms for California child care grants—up to $249,999 available per grant

Beth Torres

California Department of Social Services expects to distribute an estimated $100 million to eligible child care providers.

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Child care classroom.Monica Sedra/Unsplash

Over the past few years, many California child care facilities have closed, causing what the state calls a “child care desert.” There are simply not enough quality child care programs and facilities to meet the needs of the state’s children. This has become an even greater concern as parents return to onsite work and need child care assistance.

To address this problem, on July 23, 2021, the California legislature approved the “Child Care and Development Infrastructure Grant Program.” The purpose of this program is to allocate $250 million to improving the state’s child care infrastructure. The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is responsible for administering the grant program.

Infrastructure Grant: Minor Renovations and Repairs

The CDSS has $100 million in grant money available to help existing child care facilities pay for repairs and renovations. The CDSS expects to award between 500 to 1,000 grants. The award amounts will range from $25,000 to $249,999.

According to the CDSS, the purpose of the “Minor Renovations and Repairs” grant program is to offer licensed child care providers money to pay for:

“… minor renovations, repairs, modernization, or retrofitting of existing child care facilities to increase or recover capacity due to a declared disaster, mitigate future disasters, address needs related to health and safety… Funds shall be used to preserve, enhance, or expand existing child care spaces."

If you’re interested in applying for the grant, you’ll need to act soon. The application deadline is on or before 11:59 p.m., March 25, 2022.

Application process

Interested child care providers must follow application instructions, apply by the deadline, and receive approval before they will receive funding. The CDSS will announce grant recipients between March 2022 and September 2022.

There are various eligibility requirements. We’ve listed a few of these requirements below:

  • Project sites must be in the state of California.
  • Project sites must serve children and families in California.
  • Applicants must operate as a California licensed child care center or licensed family child care home. According to the CDSS, this means: “As identified in Welfare and Institutions Code (W&IC) 10310.1, eligible applicants are limited to child care providers who offer child care and development and preschool program services in licensed child care centers and licensed family child care homes, as defined in Health and Safety Code (HSC) sections 1596.76 and 1596.78.”
  • Applicants must be licensed and operate for at least one year prior to August 1, 2021.
  • Applicants may be non-profits, for-profit businesses, or Tribes.

For a complete list of requirements, guidelines, and access to the grant application form, see “Infrastructure Grant: Minor Renovations and Repairs” on the California state grants portal.

What do you think about California’s child care problem? Will grants like this help or are there other solutions that make better sense? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

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