NH DHHS Announces More Than 250 Providers Achieve Emergency Child Care Provider Designation
Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced that more than 250 child care programs statewide have been designated as emergency providers through the newly established Emergency Child Care Program (ECCP), created to support the families of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, there are 262 emergency child care programs serving more than 5,500 children across the state.
“I applaud DHHS for quickly standing up emergency child care for New Hampshire families during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Chris Sununu. “Ensuring that we have child care centers open in every part of the state for families while parents provide essential services to Granite Staters is a critical part of our response to this unprecedented situation, and parents can rest assured that their children will be well cared for in the days and weeks ahead.”
Through the NH Child Care Collaborative, a partnership among DHHS, DOE, the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation (NHCF) and child care stakeholders, more than $5 million in funding has been committed to establish and ensure a robust and effective system of emergency child care for parents and employers providing essential services during COVID-19. Funding is already moving out to ECCPs across the state to support staff and operational costs.
“Child care programs are part of the foundation of strong and healthy families, and ensuring safe, quality, and accessible child care is vitally important as we continue to respond to COVID-19,” said DHHS Associate Commissioner Christine Tappan. “We are grateful for the funding that has allowed us to create a private-public partnership that will ensure families have the support they need during this public health emergency, and safeguard the stability of the child care system once the pandemic is over.”
"It's incredible to see so many early-childhood professionals coming together and rolling up their sleeves to support New Hampshire's essential and emergency workforce,” said Christina Lachance, Director of Early Childhood and Family Initiatives for NHCF. “These professionals take care of our children in good times, and now they are stepping up to help our state get through this unprecedented challenge."
The Emergency Child Care Program is working through New Hampshire’s referral partner, Child Care Aware NH (CCAofNH), to match emergency child care providers with the families who need them. CCofANH has conducted a statewide needs survey to identify what child care providers need for supplies, staff and funding, and has provided extensive COVID-19 resources to keep families informed of best health and safety practices. Individuals seeking emergency child care can view an interactive map created by Child Care Aware of America, which provides a snapshot of available child care programs in relation to New Hampshire hospitals and alternative health care facilities that have been set up across the state to manage a potential surge of COVID-19 cases.
In order to qualify as an Emergency Child Care Program, child care providers met criteria around proximity to hospitals and surge centers, number of slots available for the children of essential workers, hours of operation, and ability to serve vulnerable children. Child care programs will be eligible to apply for incentive payments, including funding to support pay differentials for staff, child care costs for child care professionals, and other operating costs that support an emergency child care system.
On March 26, Governor Chris Sununu issued Emergency Order #17 which included a list of designated business sectors that provide essential services and support to COVID-19 and the core missions of the State.
For more information about the Emergency Child Care Collaborative, please visit https://www.childcareaware.org/our-issues/research/ccdc/state/nh/. For questions about the program, email ECCP@dhhs.gov. For more information on COVID-19, please visit www.nh.gov/covid19.