The New Jersey Economic Development Authority on May 11 approved the creation of the $54.5 million Child Care Facilities Improvement Pilot Program for child care centers and family child care homes.
In the first phase of the program, the NJEDA will provide nearly $15 million in grants of up to $200,000 to licensed child care centers in New Jersey, which can be used to cover facility improvement costs.
“An investment in the child care sector is an investment in our state’s economic future,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Working families need reliable, safe, affordable, accessible, and high-quality child care. The program announced today will help us ensure that child care centers statewide can meet those needs while simultaneously securing their long-term financial resiliency.”
The first phase launches this summer, making grants between $50,000 and $200,000 available to pay for improvements, including installing energy efficient windows, creating additional classroom space, purchasing new playground equipment, replacing flooring, remediating environmental hazards, or putting in child-height sinks or toilets.
“Reliable and quality child care services are vital to New Jersey’s economic infrastructure, and during COVID-19, parents and caregivers across our state and nation bore the brunt of service disruptions during the global pandemic,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.
Sullivan said that child care providers serving low-income children through the New Jersey Department of Human Services Child Care Assistance Program were significantly impacted during the pandemic. So, 40% of the Phase 1 funding is being set aside for child care providers in the Opportunity Zone-eligible census tracts.
“Child care providers enrich our children’s learning experience from the earliest ages and it is incumbent upon us to begin their educational journeys off right,” said NJDHS Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “The Child Care Facilities Improvement Pilot Program will be a crucial complement to our existing grants for child care providers as we seek to enhance the places where the youngest New Jerseyans get their starts.”
“We know that COVID-19 hit child care centers particularly hard, both with respect to their enrollment perspective and the effect it had on its workers as they juggled their own families’ needs,” said NJEDA Executive Vice President of Economic Security Tara Colton. “By supporting enhancements to child care facilities statewide, the program announced today will strengthen this important sector and accelerate the state’s economic recovery.”
Full eligibility criteria can be found by clicking here.