The County Council yesterday unanimously passed a special appropriation of $7,687,000 to assist both childcare providers and families who need full-day care for school-age children.
The funding includes $1.8 million to help providers that have incurred increased COVID-19-related expenses and lost revenues from both lower classroom capacity and being unable to open in school spaces since March.
To be eligible for a grant, the providers must reopen full-day, school-age childcare classrooms in county school buildings during the first semester of the 2020-21 school year; have a Maryland license to operate childcare in the classrooms (and be in good standing with the state); and have a facility use license for the classrooms.
Grant awards of up to $250,000 would be available to providers based on the number of classrooms opened.
The special appropriation also would provide $5.6 million to provide tuition assistance to working families “for full-day, school-age child care services offered by child care centers, registered family child care homes or letter of compliance programs located in the county,” according to a press release.
To be eligible, families must have incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The income limit would not apply to foster families.
The council also passed two previously introduced bills:
- A uniform $15 trader’s license fee (currently ranging between $15 to $800 annually for any business that has retail inventory, such as retailers and restaurants), and
- A bill prohibiting the outdoor release of helium-filled latex and mylar balloons to protect animals who can mistake deflated balloons for food, ingest or get tangled with them, leading to injuries or death.