The state of New Mexico recently awarded $157 million to child care centers across the state to help cover everything from salaries to rent. The funding comes from New Mexico’s Early Childhood Education and Care Department and will go to more than 1,004 child care providers in New Mexico. The centers range from large centers to small centers ran out of individual’s homes.
“New Mexico needs a strong and stable child care industry, not only to support the growth and development of our children but also to ensure that parents aren’t forced to drop out of the workforce because they can’t access child care,” New Mexico’s Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said.
There are grants currently available to U.S. nonprofits for research projects related to child welfare and parenting. Funding will go toward original projects that have the potential to benefit infants and children.
The reason that these funds are being awarded is to help mitigate some of the financial losses and incurred expenses from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a poll from the Associated Press in 2021, around 4 in 10 Americans are still feeling the financial impact of the pandemic a year later.
Many parents struggled financially throughout the pandemic, and a lack of child care aggregated the problem. Women, who disproportionately act as primary caregivers for their children, bore the brunt of this during the pandemic. In fact, as of February 2021, nearly 3 million women had dropped out of the workforce. These issues could further lengthen the income gap between men and women and have long-term consequences.
GrantWatch has grants available to U.S., Canada, and International women in eligible countries and territories for educational training programs. Funding is to support women who are the main financial supporters of their families and who are pursuing a vocational or skills training program or undergraduate degree.
And many child care centers themselves saw major losses during the pandemic, especially in New Mexico. In 2020, many struggled to pay bills, as parents kept children home due to the pandemic. Many had to furlough employees, leading to a worker-shortage that has continued into 2021. Additionally, space limits implanted by the state to allow for COVID safety measures meant fewer funds. Some of these centers still have a limited capacity, while others remain closed.
How the Grants Will Work
The money is part of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Checks started going out in October and could be the reason some of the centers survive.
The child care centers must specify where the funds will go specifically. However, the funds can go toward a number of expenses including “personnel costs, rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, insurance, personal protective equipment, cleaning and other health and safety practices, purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies to respond to COVID-19, goods and services necessary to maintain or resume child care services, mental health supports for children and employees, and paying for past expenses that resulted from the pandemic.”
$278,000 of the funding will allow the opening of a child care center in Grants County in southwestern New Mexico. There are currently 35 families still on a waiting list there.
In addition, the state will audit 10 percent of the centers at random to ensure the grant is properly spent.