Families urged to apply for COVID-19 childcare grants from county

WEST CHESTER — As families struggle to cover the cost of childcare during COVID-19, the Chester County Commissioners are urging them to apply for financial relief before the December 30, 2020 deadline.

The Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU), which administers Chester County’s childcare grant program, says as of Wednesday, 639 families representing 1,135 children have been approved for childcare subsidies. 140 childcare providers from across the county are also receiving funds at this point to cover the substantial protection costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More than $5.3 million in childcare funds have been dispersed to families so far, and applications are coming in daily,” said Kim Bowman, Chester County’s Director of Human Services. “Still, there are more funds available, and we know the need is pressing.”

One recipient of childcare subsidy funds reported, “After almost losing my husband in June to a bad motorcycle accident, helping my father run his business while facing advanced prostate cancer, and attempting to juggle the cost of daycare for our 4.5-year-old during COVID, this is such a blessing. I’m at a loss to say how grateful I am for those putting these grants together during this global pandemic.”

The Commissioners announced the $10 million in childcare subsidies last month for Chester County families requiring childcare services. They also announced $5 million for childcare providers, understanding that they may see an increase in childcare enrollments and require assistance purchasing additional personal protective equipment, providing training and making needed changes to facilities.

The grant programs are funded from CARES Act funding acquired by Chester County government. The Commissioners have appointed the Chester County Intermediate Unit (CCIU) to administer both grant programs because of the organization’s experience in administration of the Commonwealth’s Child Care Subsidy program. The Chester County Department of Human Services is coordinating the program on behalf of the County.

Guidelines for eligibility include annual income limits, residency in Chester County, reasons for the childcare need, and is open to families with children from birth to age 12. Children with disabilities may be eligible through age 21.

Funds for both the $10 million childcare subsidy grant program and the $5 million childcare provider grant program are available up to December 30, 2020, and will be awarded while funds last. More information and the application for childcare subsidies can be found at www.cciu.org/covid-childcare or by calling the Chester County Intermediate Unit at 484-753-4305 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

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