DHHS Issues $6 million in Child Care Stabilization Funding
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is making an additional $6 million available to child care providers that received American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Stabilization funds in the fall of 2021. The funds, part of the $42 million funding opportunity recently released by DHHS, will be distributed to 486 child care programs based on each program’s licensed capacity and could see each program receive as much as $165 per child.
“From day one, we kept child care open and invested in our workers, families, and communities,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Ensuring New Hampshire has a robust, responsive, and exceptional child care system remains a top priority and this latest investment reiterates our commitment.”
These funds are part of unprecedented one time funding opportunities provided to the child care sector. Since Spring 2020, the State has distributed more than $100 million in funding directly to child care providers throughout New Hampshire. This funding represents an extraordinary opportunity for child care providers to address long-standing issues in the sector and to leverage the funding in innovative ways to ensure sustainability. Several child care providers, recognizing that these funds provide a once in a generation opportunity to ensure sustainability long into the future, have thought about child care – and the professionals in this line of work – differently. They have implemented innovative steps to grow their programs in a sustainable way, support their families and benefit the economy for all residents.
Programs continue to be encouraged to use these funds to address the recruitment and retention of staff and occupancy costs, two of the biggest challenges faced by providers. Providers are not required to complete any additional applications to benefit from this unique funding opportunity. To date, 300 providers chose to take advantage of this new funding within the first 72 hours of the funding announcement. About 75% of the participating providers have indicated they plan to use this funding on staffing and rent or mortgage payments.
“The need for the child care sector to adapt and innovate in order to thrive is not new,” said DHHS Associate Commissioner Chris Santaniello. “The pandemic has exacerbated long standing issues such as the need to keep tuition low to support families, low levels of pay for people working in the industry, and insufficient capacity in some facilities and parts of the State. The funding we have made available is truly a once in a life time opportunity, and we are grateful for the providers who are creating innovative models to ensure child care in New Hampshire remains available and essential.”
Some examples of innovate initiatives:
A Place to Grow in Brentwood, NH, has created a franchise model and has secured their first successful opportunity to expand through a partnership with Harmony Homes, a memory care facility in Durham. Harmony Homes partnered with A Place to Grow to support the hiring and retention of long term care facility staff. To address workforce and housing challenges, A Place to Grow has developed a 7-unit, rent restricted apartment building with child care on-site. Harmony Homes and Place to Grow will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony for the child care facility at 9:00 am on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
In the greater Keene area, nonprofit organizations, business leaders and local officials are collaborating on an initiative to help local entrepreneurs create at least 10 new childcare providers. The initiative is a three-pronged effort that will help new providers with technical assistance to set up and manage a new child care program; provide training and certification of child care programs and staff; and provide facilities support to expand or retrofit buildings to be appropriate for a child care setting.
The innovative models in the Seacoast and Monadnock regions expand access to housing and child care, create new employment opportunities in the child care sector, allow providers to expand their business footprint, and support the needs of the local economy.
The pandemic has elevated the role of child care professionals as a vital, essential workforce that empowers working families, enables businesses to stay open, and nurtures the social and emotional development of the children who will be NH’s future leaders, workers, and community members. New Hampshire remains committed to investing in child care.