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Child Care Relief Scholarship

Molinaro Announces $197K Available to Families through COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship

Dutchess County, NY sent this bulletin at 09/01/2020 10:15 AM EDT

Molinaro Announces $197K Available to Families through COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship

Additional social, emotional and behavioral supports available for Dutchess County families

Poughkeepsie … As local schools prepare to open for the 2020-21 school year in non-traditional formats, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today the County has allocated $197,685 for a COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship to benefit families challenged with the unprecedented need for childcare for their school aged children.

This childcare scholarship fund will allow parents the ability to work, look for work or attend college. The intent of this scholarship program is to fill the gap between the number of days students will be physically in school and those days where students are not physically in school. Families are encouraged to consider their available resources and supports, and request the minimal number of days needed to ensure this funding can be maximized.

County Executive Molinaro said, “These unprecedented times have impacted families in so many ways, and the start of the new school year presents a new dilemma as working parents must weigh concerns about at-home learning and childcare while they earn a living to support their family. This COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship will provide families more options and flexibility as they wade through these uncertain times. Dutchess County’s future lies in its children, and we all strive to give them the most comprehensive and safest education possible, while easing stress on working families.

Scholarships will be awarded beginning October 1, 2020 through the end of the academic calendar year by a random selection process to eligible families with school-aged children. This Childcare Relief Scholarship Fund will cover 75 percent of the tuition for each child, paid directly to the childcare facility. Families will be responsible for 25 percent of the tuition. All Dutchess County regulated childcare providers are eligible to participate. Families with children who have special needs will be prioritized. Complete Program Guidance and Application Instructions can be found here.

Funding for this scholarship program was made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to the county for distribution through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to prevent, prepare for or respond to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Dutchess County is partnering with the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc. for the implementation of this program.

Eligible families must meet the following criteria:

  • Household income must not exceed 80 percent of the county’s median income limits as illustrated in the below chart.
  • Families with school-aged children eligible for acceptance into a regulated childcare facility are eligible to apply.
  • Children with special needs will receive a preference.
  • Families must live in Dutchess County, excluding the City of Poughkeepsie. The City received its own CDBG-CV funds, so its residents are not eligible for county CDBG funds under federal regulations. 
  • Parent(s) or guardian(s) must be working, looking for work or in school to be eligible, unless there are extenuating circumstances and a demonstrated COVID-related need for childcare despite not meeting this criterion.
  • The child is not receiving any other childcare subsidy or scholarship, such as a Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) subsidy or Dyson Scholarship. If eligible for a subsidy from the DCFS, applicants must apply for funding from that program.
  • The facility must be a regulated childcare facility in Dutchess County.

“The Child Care Council has been inundated with calls from families with school-aged children – typically, families call looking for childcare. Now, with children not going back to school, families are calling to find childcare and to ask for assistance with the cost of the care. This funding will go a long way in helping to fulfill the need that will exist this school year,” says Jeanne Wagner, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam.

Schools also provide a means for children’s social, emotional and behavioral development. With schools shifting their delivery method this fall to limited, if any, in-person instruction due to the pandemic, school-aged children may need additional resources to ensure their various needs are met.