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Are child care centers open? Is there help for families with children or child care providers?
Child care centers are open for all clients.
If you were using a child care center before the public health crisis, you should contact them to learn of their plans. If you need help finding child care, contact your local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) Agency.
Child care centers must follow all safety guidelines detailed by the Department of Children and Families, including:
- Screening staff and children for fever and other COVID-19 symptoms prior to entry to the program facility each day;
- Minimizing group sizes to 10 children and limiting movement between groups;
- Ensuring that the spacing of groups allows for ten feet of separation between groups at all times;
- Taking steps to preclude crowding at pick up and drop off times;
- Strictly limiting the sharing of supplies, food, toys, and other items;
- Prohibiting field trips and other off-site activities, with the exception of activities within walking distance of the facility;
- Strictly limiting and discouraging close person to person contact (hugging, wrestling, games involving touching or tagging);
- Requiring staff to wear cloth masks unless doing so would inhibit the individual's health – when feasible, children over age two should wear face coverings within the facility;
- Restricting all visitors - except for emergency/law enforcement personnel in their official capacity and Department of Children Families personnel for child protection or child care licensing purposes – to after operating hours;
- Completing DCF Office of Licensing daily log.
For further details on safety guidelines, see the Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities on COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements and see the Department of Children and Families' COVID-19 resources for licensed childcare.
Support for Child Care Costs
New Jersey's Child Care Subsidy Program helps income-eligible parents pay for child care and was expanded to support New Jersey families and providers that have been impacted by the spread of COVID-19.
In August, Governor Murphy announced the Department of Human Services will provide state child care subsidies for child care during the school day for children age 5 to 13 years old through the end of calendar year 2020.
Participation in the state Child Care Subsidy Program is available to children in families with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level who meet program criteria.
Under the Governor's new COVID Child Care Initiative, through the end of the calendar year, currently enrolled and any newly enrolled school-age children will now be eligible for state subsidy funding for child care services throughout the school day.
Additional Child Care Subsidies
The Governor announced that the Department of Human Services will also create a new $150 million program to provide child care support to New Jersey families who are not eligible for the state Child Care Subsidy Program but are in need of either full or part-time child care due to their child's school's remote learning schedule.
This assistance will be available through the end of calendar year 2020 for families with school-age children, 5 to 13 years old, with annual incomes below $75,000 through an application process.
Funding for recipients of this program will be provided directly to the family's selected licensed child care center or registered family child care. Providers will be paid the state's subsidy rate for school-age children based on the hours of care needed.
Applications will open in early September. When the process opens, families may submit applications and the department will make awards to participants who meet the eligibility criteria until funding is exhausted. Selected recipients will be eligible for either full- or part-time support based on their families' needs.
Support for Child Care Centers
In August, Governor Murphy announced the Department of Human Services will provide supplemental payments of $75 per subsidy-eligible child, per month, including infants, toddlers, and school-age children to providers through the end of the calendar year.
The Department of Human Services will also make funding available to child care centers to manage operational costs due to new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. Funding is available to all licensed child care centers and all registered family child providers in New Jersey that are open or will open by October 1st.
Safety Grants for Child Care Centers
Up to $20 million in grants is available to help child care centers and youth camps meet health and safety guidelines in response to COVID-19. Child care centers can receive up to $5,000 to purchase additional cleaning products, personal protective equipment and other products and services. The providers must be registered with the NJ Workforce Registry and must apply through the New Jersey Child Care Information System (NJCCIS).
Information related to COVID-19 will continue to be posted on the Department of Human Services Novel Coronavirus Information page: https://nj.gov/humanservices/coronavirus.html.
Sources: https://www.childcarenj.gov/Resources/Coronavirus, https://www.nj.gov/dcf/coronavirus_licensedchildcare.html, Executive Order No. 149; Guidance for New Jersey Child Care Facilities on COVID-19 Related Health and Safety Requirements; https://nj.gov/health/legal/covid19/6-30-20_ExecutiveDirectiveNo20-021_ChildCare_SummerCamps.pdf; https://www.state.nj.us/humanservices/news/pressreleases/2020/approved/20200828.html