How childcare providers can receive relief funding from the state's $100 million grant
A new state program will begin accepting applications next week in hopes of tackling the shortage of childcare options in Syracuse and Onondaga County. $70 million in grants are available statewide to those interested in opening a childcare program.
More than 60% of the state is in what’s called a childcare desert, where there just aren’t enough licensed and registered slots to serve the children who live in an area. That includes all of Syracuse and Onondaga County. Mayor Ben Walsh said the lack of quality, affordable childcare is key factor in the city’s highest in the nation poverty rate among children.
“There’s a direct connection between child poverty and childcare. Children are poor because their parents are poor. One of the most significant barriers to getting adults, our parents, to work is quality, affordable childcare.”
The state is using federal pandemic relief funds for the grants. The money can be used to cover start-up and personnel costs, and to recruit, train and retain staff. Child Care Solutions Executive Director Lorie Schakow said every potential applicant is eligible for a grant.
“New York State is really identifying the census tracts where there is the most need. Not just the lowest number of childcare slots available for our community, but individuals will receive points on their application who are also in the high diversity index and high poverty index.”
Schakow said all applicants must be registered and licensed. She said the city and county are streamlining the process.
“So some of those zoning or inspections, things like that that need to happen…the city and county have agreed to expedite those service so we can get people open and funded as soon as possible.”
The application period opens April 11 and closes May 19. Existing childcare programs will have a shot at a $30 million pool of funding at a later date.