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Ruiz Bill to Expand Subsidized Childcare Assistance Program Advances

Trenton – In response to COVID-19 safety measures in New Jersey schools and an increase in the need for childcare in low-income families, the Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore M. Teresa Ruiz that would expand reimbursement for licensed childcare providers during the 2020-2021 school year.
“We need to do more to support childcare providers and the families that seek out their services,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex), chair of the Senate Education Committee. “As we weather the second wave of this pandemic, it is important that we pursue creative solutions that meet the needs of both our parents and our daycare centers.”
Due to the safety measures put in place in response to COVID-19 in New Jersey schools, many children are only physically present in school on a part-time basis. As a result, working parents need more than the currently subsidized three hours of care per day for their school-age children.
Under the bill, S-2908, providers that enroll school-aged children on a part-time basis would receive $28.90 per day for providing a maximum of six hours of care. Providers enrolling school-aged children on a full-time basis would be reimbursed $48.80 per day for providing 6.25 to ten hours of care.
The bill would appropriate the necessary funds to implement these reimbursement changes to the subsidy program with the primary source of funding coming from federal funds allocated pursuant to the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990. Finally, the bill would require the state Commissioner of Human Services to apply for any state plan amendments or waivers required to ensure continued federal financial participation in the subsidized child care assistance program.
The bill would not prevent the Division of Family Development, which administers the subsidized child care assistance program, from paying providers a higher hourly subsidy rate. The bill’s requirements would become effective upon enactment and expire on June 30, 2021.
The bill was released from the Senate by a vote of 38-0.