By Margaret Wile
Top officials from the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) virtually briefed an audience of governors, state legislators, legislative staff and county officials about ACF’s recently released Child Care Stabilization Grants guidance.
The Child Care Stabilization Grants, created through the American Rescue Plan Act, provide $23.9 billion in emergency relief to states, territories and tribes. States can use these funds to reimburse programs for pandemic-related costs retroactively to the declaration of the public health emergency on Jan. 31, 2020.
“[We are] working hard to get resources into states, through technical assistance, we are here to answer questions and deal with challenges that have come up and are also aware these grants can bring resources and challenges,” said Deputy Secretary Katie Hamm from ACF’s office of Early Childhood Development.
The briefing, co-hosted by NCSL, the National Governors Association, and the National Association of Counties gave attendees the opportunity to hear from ACF experts including, Katie Hamm, deputy assistant secretary for Early Childhood Development in Office of Early Childhood Development and Megan Campbell, child care program specialist in the Office of Child Care. The speakers detailed the new guidance and provided concrete examples of how these funds can be used by states and local partners.
When describing the types of flexibilities these funds can be used to address the needs of child care providers recovering from the effects of the pandemic, Campbell said, “providers have had to make very difficult decisions over the last year and a half to stay afloat and some of the funds could be used to address these areas i.e. taking on debt and they can use some of these funds to reimburse themselves.” The ACF speakers went on to provide detailed information on all the flexibilities and parameters for these funds.
As states continue to plan how they will spend the newly released federal child care funds, NCSL continues to work with federal, state and local partners to provide updated and detailed information and to be a resource for our state legislators and legislative staff.
Margaret Wile is policy director, Health and Human Services, in NCSL's State-Federal Affairs program.