The City of Sacramento, with local non-profit family resource and referral agency Child Action, Inc., is making stipends available for childcare centers and homes in high-need areas of the city.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Sacramento County has seen the permanent closure of 272 childcare facilities and a 13% drop in the childcare workforce, officials said.
“Childcare is essential for working families and this first investment is a sizable down payment on the efforts to improve childcare in the City of Sacramento,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “We have a great partner in Child Action Inc. and a targeted strategy to ensure our community gets the most out of this investment.”
“Parents returning to work are struggling now more than ever as waitlists get longer and child care options get slimmer,” said Mayor Pro Tem Eric Guerra, who spearheaded the program. “This investment not only assists our providers, it also helps keep our child care workers employed and provides the critical support our families need.”
As part of the engagement process, Child Action, Inc. is reaching out to licensed childcare providers in underserved and high-priority areas with a below average number of childcare facilities to let them know about the stipend and how to apply for it.
Applications open at 3 p.m. Nov. 10 and will remain open until all funds are expended. Those interested in learning more about the program or applying for funds can visit Child Action’s website here.
The childcare stipends, totaling $881,000, will be allocated in the following amounts: $5,000 for family childcare homes, and $7,500 for center-based programs. These funds can assist up to 67 family childcare homes and 67 childcare centers.
The stipend can be used toward hiring staff, providing sign-on and retention bonuses, and covering operational expenses and supplies.
The City Council in August approved $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan dollars to increase accessibility for families, help local childcare providers and support Sacramento’s child care workforce.
“COVID recovery dollars have been vital in helping child care providers keep their businesses open,” said Julie Smith, communications officer with Child Action, Inc. “We are grateful for the City of Sacramento’s commitment to provide ARP stipends in support of child care, ensuring access to care for Sacramento’s children and families. Investment in child care is an investment in the economic health of our community.”
The City is working with Child Action, Inc., Los Rios Community College District and California Capital Women’s Business Center to expand childcare services.
In addition to the childcare provider stipend, the City also will work with its partners to provide:
- Childcare provider startup stipends for childcare providers to help reduce barriers to becoming a licensed Family Childcare Home (or home-based childcare facility) by covering costs such as licensing fees, training, supplies and other safety protocols for new and start-up childcare providers.
- Childcare provider education apprenticeship program to offer job placement in early learning and childcare facilities and subsidize courses and materials for apprentices through Los Rios Community College District to increase the childcare workforce. The program was modeled after SETA’s Head Start Apprenticeship program.
This three-pronged approach was developed by the City’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development, childcare experts and providers and Guerra.
Announcements will be made on the City’s website as programs become available.