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NC child care centers can seek virus grants from $800M pool

Student-teacher ratio is one component of high-quality preschool.
Student-teacher ratio is one component of high-quality preschool.

Child care providers in North Carolina can begin applying next week for $805 million in grants designed to help them with payroll, capital improvements and training as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced the start of North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants while visiting a Carrboro school on Thursday. The money, which originates from American Rescue Plan Act funds approved by Congress earlier this year, will help with recruitment and retention within early childhood centers at a time of great need for families.

"This help for quality child care will get more parents back into the workforce," Cooper said in a news release. "Available and accessible child care is a critical component of a sound basic education for our children."

Starting Monday, all private, licensed early care and learning programs, including those inside homes and at churches, can apply online for grants awarded starting in November for 18 months.

Grants will range from $3,000 to $60,000, depending on the program size and rating, according to Susan Gale Perry, deputy secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services. Perry said additional funds are available for staff bonuses or salary increases, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

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