SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County Supervisors Andrew Do and Doug Chaffee today touted a new $5 million grant program for local childcare providers.
Last week, the Board of Supervisors approved using federal CARES Act funding to help bolster childcare providers. The move came following a report from First 5 Orange County that showed a scarcity of child care for working parents in the region.
There are 107,870 children up to 2 years old in the county, but only 5,170 licensed slots, with 4,476 in licensed child-care centers, according to the report.
For preschoolers aged 3 to 4, there are enough licensed slots for 70%, according to First 5 Orange County.
Throughout the county, 60% of families with children up to 4 years old have both parents working.
The price of child care is often a budget buster. The average annual price in the county for full-time care at a center for one infant or toddler is $15,650. For two young children, it is $26,150.
A full-time program for preschoolers averages $10,500. The share of median family income devoted for child care is 26%, according to the report.
“CARES Act funding is critical to rebuilding Orange County's economy,'' Chaffee said, adding that “quality child care'' is also important in ensuring “parents can go back to work.''
Chaffee noted that 298 child care provider businesses have had to shut down because of the pandemic.
“We hope the grants will help 944 remaining providers keep their doors open,'' he said.
Applications for the grants will be accepted starting Friday and continue through Nov. 13. More information about how to apply for a grant can be found at www.charitableventuresoc.org/county-of-orange-covid19-childcare-relief-program.
The Charitable Ventures organization will be responsible for doling out the grants.
Licensed child care providers as well as providers with an exemption for a license are eligible for the grants, which can be used to pay for salaries, mortgages, rent or supplies.
“These are one-time stipend grants,'' said Anne Olin, president and CEO of Charitable Ventures. “They are not a loan and do not require repayment.''
The grants range between $2,500 to $3,500, depending on the size of the childcare provider.
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