Tiny Tots Childcare Director Jessica Burns got good news Wednesday: A second round of relief checks for Delaware’s child care professionals.
That will help her workers pay for their certifications, which cost between $300 and $500, she said.
“This definitely is a retention effort by the state,” she said. “My staff is very, very excited and hoping to get to work on them very soon so that they can see those bonuses. It definitely helps them out a lot.”
Wednesday, the Department of Education announced the second round of bonuses, this time for $700, for child care workers.
MORE ON BONUSES: Child care bonuses set at $1,000; registry to open soon
“This is an important step to help families work and support vital day care workers,” said Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown.
It’s a highly competitive market, she said, and most providers are small businesses that struggled through forced COVID-19 mandates.
The state is using federal American Rescue Plan funding – which earlier provided more than $120 million in relief for Delaware’s child care industry – in an effort to keep early childhood educators in the state during the ongoing national teacher shortage.
The bonuses grew out of concerns about child care that popped up during COVID-19 when centers closed, forcing some parents to quit their jobs. It’s also become a crisis among workers, who often cannot find affordable childcare so they can work.
The problem existed before the pandemic, but grew much worse during it.
To be eligible for the bonus, child care professionals must:
- Work directly with children or provide on-site support in a licensed family child care home, large family child care home, early care and education or school-age center in Delaware
- Work at least 20 hours per week
- Have worked for at least 90 days at the time of the application
- Be at least 18 years of age or older
Burns said state regulations are going to change and require child care centers to employ only Child Development Associates in coming years.
“That’s going to hurt the childcare field, so the state needs to give some incentives for people to get that classwork done and stay in the field,” she said.
In Summer 2022, the Education Department dished out $1,000 checks.
All bonuses are considered taxable income.
The application for round two will be open for two months with all submissions due April 30.
“I’m happy that the state is using ARPA funds to encourage people to stay in the field and to thank them for the work they do,” said Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown. “Having a strong child care system allows parents to secure and keep good-paying jobs which benefits their families and our local economies.”
After being verified, licensed child care professionals can expect to receive their payments within 10 days if they choose direct deposit or up to 30 days if they choose to receive a check by mail..
To apply for the bonus, click here.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
Jarek can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at (215) 450-9982. Follow him on Twitter @jarekrutz
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