Child Care Stabilization Grants FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions related to the Child Care Stabilization Grants from the Department of Early Education & Care (EEC)

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility

If a program closes temporarily during the 12-month grant period due to inactive status, will the program still be eligible for the grant during that month?

Programs in inactive status are not able to apply or recertify their stabilization grant while they are in inactive status, as only programs that are open to serve children are eligible for stabilization grants. Programs that close temporarily during the 12-month grant period due to inactive status (including inactive status pending an investigation) will have their payment frozen as of the date that the program became inactive in LEAD. Providers closed due to an inactive status pending the outcome of an investigation may not recertify until the investigation has been closed and corrective action has been approved by EEC. If a program is in inactive status for a full month, they are not eligible for grant funding during that month.

 

If a program closes temporarily during the 12-month grant period (for vacation, illness/injury, or COVID-19-related issue) will the program still be eligible for the grant during that month?

Providers will not be penalized for temporary closures that occur during the grant period, provided they are open and serving children for at least part of that month.

 

If a program closes permanently, will the program need to return the grant funds?

Any program that has closed permanently is not eligible to receive continued grant funding. Programs that permanently close are expected to notify EEC prior to their date of closure. EEC can then help the provider determine whether any funds need to be returned. Funds received prior to the date of closure may be used for approved expenses. Any funds received after the date of permanent closure will need to be returned to EEC.

 

 

Allowable Expenditures

What can EEC-licensed programs use the C3 grant funds for?

Per federal regulations, providers should spend the funding on one or more of the following categories:

  • Personnel costs, benefits, premium pay, and other supports for recruitment and retention
  • Professional development and other investments to support staff in building educator qualifications
  • Other investments to improve program quality such as supplies, curriculum, screening tools, etc.
  • Rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, or insurance
  • Personal protective equipment, testing supplies, cleaning and sanitation supplies and services, or other COVID-related expenses (including past expenses).
  • Goods and services necessary to operate, such as materials, equipment, and technology
  • Comprehensive services including mental health supports for children and employees

 

What documentation is required to support the monthly grant attestations a provider completes each month?

Within the grant attestation, a provider attests to using the funds for only items in the allowable expenditure categories. Supporting documentation should demonstrate that the purchase in question falls within at least one of the allowable use categories. If necessary, you may need to include an explanation of how the items or staff time in question fall within the allowable categories.

Examples of documentation include receipts (electronic or paper), paid invoices, payroll records, and employee timecards.

 

What is the difference between a major renovation and minor building updates or maintenance?

Major renovations (which are not allowable) include:

  • Structural changes to the foundation, roof, floor exterior, or load-bearing walls of a facility
  • Extension of a facility to increase its floor area
  • Extensive alteration of a facility such as to significantly change its function and purpose, even if such renovation does not include structural change.

Minor building updates or maintenance to the facility and/or grounds that do not change the fundamental structure of the building or alter the function or purpose of the facility (which are allowable). Some examples include:

  • Repairs to HVAC systems
  • Snow removal snow or other weather-related services
  • Updates to playground areas
  • Installing new interior, carpeting, or flooring
  • Replacing outdated building fixtures and general repairs

 

What are the requirements and restrictions for how the grant funds can be used for payroll?

Wages for child care personnel, pay increases, bonuses, stipends, and benefits are all allowable uses for the grant funds.

Federal guidelines require that child care programs cannot reduce an employee’s hourly rate while participating in this grant opportunity. Child care programs may not decrease an hourly employee’s pay rate but are allowed to decrease the employee’s hours in a given week. Child care programs may not furlough any employees while receiving the C3 grant funds.

 

Can the grant funds be used to pay the director/provider? Can this include replacing lost income due to low enrollment?

The C3 grant funds may be used for wages and benefits for child care program personnel, including compensation for any staff supporting a child care center or family child care providers and their employees.

 

The application indicates that funds can be used to pay for previous program expenses. How far back can a program go in paying these previous expenses?

Providers can use the funds to pay prior program expenses incurred after January 31, 2020.

 

Can child care providers use the C3 grant funds to cover an individual’s family subsidy co-payments or tuition?

Child care providers cannot use the C3 grant funds to cover an individual’s family subsidy co-payments but can use the funds to stabilize or reduce the tuition charged to families that do not receive subsidies. If a child care provider intends to cover an individual’s family subsidy co-payments, they must use funds other than those from EEC.

 

Timeline

Is there a deadline for spending this funding?

At this time, there is not a federal spending deadline for programs receiving the C3 stabilization funding. However, the monthly design of grant funding is to ensure that programs have the stable cash flow for ongoing operational costs that adjusts to changing conditions (i.e., staffing changes).

 

When do programs need to recertify their application?

Programs will be prompted (via email and in LEAD) to recertify the application on the first day of the month they are recertifying. The recertification process can be done at any time after the first of the month. For example, if an application was submitted such that the first month of the grant is September, they would need to recertify at the beginning of October.

 

Do programs need to spend all the grant funding each month?

Recipients of the C3 grants are not required to spend funds within the same month they are received.

 

Application Process

Is a budget required to apply?

No, a budget is not required as part of the application.

 

What happens after a program submits an application?

After an application is submitted, a confirmation email will be sent to the email address listed in the program’s LEAD account profile.

During the review process, if additional information is required or revisions are needed, the program will receive an email through LEAD asking for specific revisions.

Once an application is reviewed and approved, an email notification of the approval will be sent to the applicant. The date of the application approval will determine the date of the first payment based on the payment schedule. Refer to the disbursement schedule linked within the grant dashboard in the LEAD portal.

Regular email notifications will be sent when payments are released.

 

How will the program receive the funds?

The provider can indicate the preferred method in LEAD. There are two payment options:

  1. Direct deposit or electronic funds transfer
  2. Paper check by mail

 

If an organization has more than one Massachusetts location, am I eligible to receive more than one grant?

Yes, every licensed child care program site is eligible for a grant; this includes multi-site programs. Umbrella organizations must submit individual applications for each individual site they manage, but they may not submit a single application that covers all managed sites. Eligibility and award amounts will be determined at the site level based on each site’s licensed capacity and will consider the community’s SVI.

 

Will a W-9 be required as part of the application?

Yes. The required W-9 information is included in the application, so providers do not need to download or upload a separate form. To learn more about how to fill out W-9 information, check out this video to learn how to complete Form W 9. Programs should contact an accountant or tax professional to understand more about their particular tax situation and how this guidance applies to their specific business.

 

Grant Calculation

How many months of funding will a program receive?

Based on currently available funding, EEC anticipates funding will be available to provide grants from July 2022 through December 2022. 

IMPORTANT: Recertifications for C3 funding between the months of July 2021 and June 2022 need to be completed no later than Monday, August 1, 2022 in LEAD. Programs will receive this funding by the end of August 2022.

 

How is a program’s licensed capacity determined?

For Group and School Age/Center-Based (GSA)programs, the formula will use a center’s total licensed capacity to calculate the base amount of the monthly payment. If a program needs to adjust its site capacity, it should contact a licensor or submit an appeal on the grant using the appeal form embedded in the application.

Because Family Child Care (FCC) providers’ capacity changes with enrollment, all FCC sites will be calculated using a capacity of 10 slots, regardless of the actual capacity, for the purposes of the formula. FCC programs do not have to serve 10 children at the time of application.

 

Fiscal Monitoring

Do programs have to complete federal grant reporting to receive C3 funding?

Child care programs who have received C3 funding are not considered a direct subrecipient of grant funds and, therefore, are not subject to federal reporting. Additionally, child care programs are not subject to report C3 grant funding in the Uniform Financial Report (UFR) submitted to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Operational Services Division (OSD).

 

Are the C3 Child Care Stabilization grants taxable?

The IRS has published information indicating that “receipt of a government grant by a business is generally not excluded from the business’s gross income under the Federal Tax Code and therefore is taxable.”

1099 forms were mailed to programs detailing the amount of C3 funding the program received in 2021. Consult an accountant or tax professional to understand more about the program’s particular tax situation and how this guidance applies.

 

How should a program manage/account for having multiple streams of funding from EEC and other state agencies?

Programs should spend all funding in accordance with the specific requirements of each grant program. When receiving multiple streams of funding from EEC and other agencies, it is recommended that child care programs:

  • Document the amount(s) of funds received from each source separately
  • Review the terms of each grant program to clearly understand the allowable (and nonallowable) uses for each award
  • Segregate funds from each of the different grant funding sources. This could include physically separating checks or depositing the funds in different bank accounts.

 

How can a sole proprietor of an FCC account for and document payments to themselves?

Self-employed FCC providers should keep separate accounts and records for business and personal finances. To show payments from the business to the person, documentation may include:

  • Checks payable from the business bank account to the sole proprietor/individual
  • Electronic statements that document funds transferred from the business bank account to the personal bank account

Records of self-payments of grant funds from the business should be consistent with personal records for tax purposes.

 

Can a sole proprietor of an FCC use the grant funds to pay expenses that are associated with the program but are also inclusive of normal household bills?

Allowable categories for the grant include rent, or mortgage payments, utilities, and insurance. Costs claimed toward the grant must align with your business expenses reported in your federal taxes.

 

What is fiscal monitoring as it relates to this grant program?

Fiscal monitoring refers to the process EEC will follow to assess if grant award recipients are both using and documenting their use of grant funds correctly. The review might include, but is not limited to, requests for:

  • Documentation evidencing expenditures made with grant funds
  • Responses to questions about general provider information, provider accounting systems/processes, and the internal controls in place

Programs will be notified by EEC if they have been chosen to participate in the fiscal monitoring process.

 

During the fiscal monitoring review process, will other sources of funding be reviewed outside of the C3 Child Care Stabilization Grant (such as a PPE loan)?

The Child Care Stabilization Grant is the sole focus of these fiscal monitoring reviews. Other funds are not within the scope of this review.

 

Will EEC make an unscheduled visit to conduct fiscal monitoring activities? How will I know if I’m required to participate in the fiscal monitoring process?

EEC will not make an unscheduled visit to conduct fiscal monitoring activities. EEC will notify programs in advance if a review at the program location will occur and whether the review will be conducted on-site or remotely.

 

How can I best prepare for an EEC fiscal monitoring review? What if I am not selected for a fiscal monitoring review?

To prepare for an EEC fiscal monitoring review, you should consider:

a. Documenting all expenditures made with grant funds by using the recommended Expenditure Tracker or a similar tool, that includes at a minimum:

  • the date of each expenditure
  • the amount (in dollars) of the expenditure
  • the category of allowable uses under which the expenditure fall
  • the type of supporting documentation for the expenditure

b. Retaining documentation to support each expenditure (i.e. receipts, checks)

c. Reviewing C3 training materials provided by EEC

The responsibilities for document retention are the same regardless of whether you are selected for review. If you are not selected for a review, you should still observe sound documentation practices and prepare as you may be selected for review or asked for supporting documentation by EEC in the future.

 

What are the consequences if a program is selected for fiscal monitoring, and the program is unable to produce all the documentation to support its grant expenditures?

EEC will work with programs in determining what would be acceptable documentation to support the expending of grant funds and help programs determine how to start collecting this documentation as they use grant funds.

 

What type of private information should not be submitted during the fiscal monitoring review process?

Private information such as social security information, home addresses of employees, fingerprint records, driver’s license numbers, medical information, credit card information, bank account numbers of employees, etc. are examples of personal information that should not be sent to EEC or its designee during the fiscal monitoring review.

 

How can a program find out the total it received in grant funds?

Review the grant payments received using LEAD. If there are payments not reflected in LEAD or the program has other questions, contact the C3 Help Desk at 1-833-600-2074 or eecgrantsupport@mtxb2b.com.

Below are the steps you will need to take to obtain a listing of your paid amounts.

  1. Go to https://eeclead.force.com/EEC_Login.
  2. Enter your LEAD username, enter your LEAD password, and click Login.
  3. On the homepage, click on the grant Management tile to open the grants Management system and Dashboard.
  4. Click Log in on the desired Program to go to that Program’s EEC ARPA grants page.
  5. If there are multiple Programs registered, “Search Provider” to quickly locate the Provider.
  6. Now you are on the Dashboard page, scroll down to the Recertification Section.
  7. The Recertification section will contain the list of all applications including - Funding Month, Fund Distribution Status, Projected Amount, and Due Date.
​​Recertifications

Carefully tracking payments is an important and helpful way to help minimize compliance risks. For example, when each payment is received:

  • If the payment is a physical check, retain a copy of the bank receipts of the deposit/cashing of the check.
  • If the payment occurs via direct deposit, record the amount and date of the received payment, as well as the destination account for the funds received.

 

What is the Expenditure Tracker tool and how can it be used?

The Expenditure Tracker is a template to help track the purchases/payments made using grant award funding. It is a tool to assist child care providers in tracking expenditures made with C3 grant funds. This tracker should not reflect expenditures made with funds other than the Child Care Stabilization Grant monies.

The Expenditure Tracker can be found on the EEC website under the “Resources” section:

Commonwealth Cares for Children / Child Care Stabilization Grants | Mass.gov

 

Resources

Contact the C3 Help Desk: 1-833-600-2074 eecgrantsupport@mtxb2b.com.

 

When and where will a copy of the slide deck from the C3 training sessions be available?

The PowerPoint from the training sessions can be found on the EEC website under the “Resources” section:

Commonwealth Cares for Children / Child Care Stabilization Grants | Mass.gov

 

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