The New Jersey Department of Human Services has announced more than $700 million in new funding to help parents to pay for child care, provide bonuses and retention payments to child care workers and give grant money to child care providers.

State Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman said Wednesday that the new initiative, which relies primarily on direct funding from the federal American Rescue Plan, focuses on “supporting children and families by reducing child care costs, and putting dollars back into the pockets of New Jersey families, supporting child care workers through higher wages and more training.”

“We will continue to reduce the direct cost of child care for families participating in our assistance program, including by waiving their co-payments and minimizing their out-of-pocket costs," she said.

Adelman said this assistance will continue through the end of 2023.

She said the initiative also will help recruit new child care employees and retain staff with $1,000 bonuses in December and in the summer.

For licensed child care centers, grants will range from $20,000 to $80,000, depending on the number of kids they serve, while in-home child care providers will be able to receive $2,000 grants.

Grant money will also be made available for summer youth camp providers in 2022 and 2023, to help with COVID-related costs and families paying for summer camp.

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She said as the state continues to recover from the challenges of the COVID pandemic childcare remains a top priority.

“We know that affordable, reliable and quality childcare is critical to our economic recovery, especially for working mothers who have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of the pandemic,” said Adelman.

She noted since the pandemic began, her Department has already allocated $400 million to stabilize providers facing closure, and to help parents with unexpected child care costs during remote learning hours.

She said the announcement reflects input from families and the Jersey child care assistance program and child care providers as well.

More information about the assistance programs is available at childcarenj.gov.

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