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New program for sustaining childcare operations approved by Dare’s commissioners

The Dare County Board of Commissioners adopted an Early Childhood Education and Childcare Assistance program.

Three commissioners – Danny Couch, Rob Ross and Wally Overman – worked with Chuck Lycett, Dare’s director of Social Services, to address the problem of how to keep daycares operational now and until the county comes out of the COVID-19 situation.

Under the new program, licensed childcare facilities and homes may request a grant from Dare County to assist with childcare vacancies.

The program will run from December 2020 through June 2021 or until funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first.

The budget is $350,000 and will come from general fund balance.

Childcare facilities are eligible for $400 per vacancy per month, up to a maximum of $10,000 per month.

Childcare homes are eligible for $100 per vacancy per month, up to a maximum of $600 per month.

Payments for vacancies are calculated on a monthly basis.

To participate, facilities and homes will submit the following information by the fifth of the following month:

– Number of children enrolled in the program on the last day of the month.

– Total number of vacancies on the last day of the month.

A one-time COVID-19 grant is available. A facility or home which has to close for five or more days due to a COVID outbreak is eligible for either vacancy assistance or COVID assistance, not both, for that month. The COVID assistance, which is a maximum of $5,000 for facilities and $600 for homes, is available once during the seven-month period.

Facilities or homes which permanently close for business during the month are not eligible for the grant for that month or future months.

The county’s Social Services division will manage the program.

In calculating the budget, the work group estimated that about 100 vacancies exist currently.

About the program, commissioner Couch said “this is good government at work.”

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