RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper announced that the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is providing $35 million in operational grants from federal Coronavirus Relief Funds to help child care programs providing in-person child care during the COVID-19 pandemic. From April through July, NCDHHS has provided over $80 million in monthly operational grants for child care programs that served over 105,000 children statewide throughout the pandemic.
“These grants will help offset the significant financial strains placed on child care to meet health and safety guidelines while serving fewer children,” said Governor Cooper. “Our child care programs have been on the frontlines since the start of this pandemic, keeping their doors open so other workers could keep our economy running and the public safe. A strong and safe child care system is essential to our recovery.”
“Our response and recovery are dependent upon having a strong, high-quality child care system open and available. These operational grants help families go to work and children’s learning to be nurtured,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.
The grants will be awarded to licensed child care providers operating in-person during the months of August through October 2020 to help offset the significant financial strains due to the additional expenses to meet health and safety guidelines, while experiencing reduced revenues from lower enrollment. Providers have the flexibility to use these grants to meet their unique individual business and operational needs.
All eligible licensed child care programs will receive some level of operational grants. Specific grant amounts are based on program size, quality, and whether the program serve infants and toddlers.
Throughout the pandemic, NCDHHS has maintained North Carolina’s long history of investments in child care by providing monthly operational grants since April, child care teacher and staff bonuses in April and May, and an emergency subsidy child care program in April and May.
For more information about child care during COVID-19 in North Carolina, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/public-health/covid19/child-care.
RALEIGH: Governor Roy Cooper joined a bipartisan coalition of governors from Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington to urge the US Census Bureau to extend the Census through October 31 to help ensure a complete count. In a signed letter to U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, Governor Cooper and the other governors outline concerns about the decision to end 2020 Census Count operations a month early, which could jeopardize efforts to get a complete and accurate population count as required by the U.S. Constitution every 10 years.
“Your recent announcement calls into question how millions of Americans who have yet to fill out their 2020 Census will be counted. It is surprising to hear how optimistic the Census Bureau is about being able to reach 100% in less than 60 days, given the current daily self-response rate and the fact that, as of the writing of this letter, only 63% of the country has responded to the 2020 Census,” Gov. Cooper and the other governors wrote in the letter. “By your own calculations made when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the October 31 date is crucial for the Census Bureau to be able to meet its constitutional obligation and do it in a way that does not jeopardize the public health.”
North Carolinians who have not yet responded to the 2020 Census can do so by going to MY2020CENSUS.GOV, by calling 1-844-330-2020, or by mailing in their Census form if they received one in the mail.
Because the 2020 Census was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ending count efforts early would make it especially difficult to get a complete count and ensure full federal funding and representation for North Carolina. As of July 31, 41 percent of North Carolina households – an estimated 4 million residents – had not yet completed the 2020 Census. A potential undercount could put North Carolina at risk of losing $7.4 billion per year for health care, education, highways, community services, economic development, disaster recovery and more over the next decade.
North Carolinians most at risk of being undercounted live in rural counties, which make up approximately 80 percent of the state. This includes military families, eastern counties impacted by recent natural disasters and communities with already limited access to health care.
A complete and accurate Census count could bring $1,823 per person per year in federal and state funds back to North Carolina communities, helping our most vulnerable populations including the elderly and communities of color. An undercount could also jeopardize North Carolina adding another seat in the US House of Representatives to represent the people of our state’s interests.
The full letter can be read here.