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Commonwealth Cares for Children / Child Care Stabilization Grants

Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) is distributing the unprecedented influx of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to child care providers to support program operations, despite enrollment fluctuations, and ensure the continued availability of child care.Through the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) grants, EEC-licensed child care programs can apply to receive monthly operational stipends to support child care infrastructure during the COVID-19 recovery period.  

Massachusetts initially received $314 Million in Child Care Stabilization funds aimed at providing economic relief to child care programs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2021, EEC announced the expansion of these grants, now called Commonwealth Cares for Children(C3) grants, to help sustain child care providers and enable families to find care.  With this expansion, providers will receive approximately $450 million in federal funds through June 2022, six months longer than the original length of the grant program. The grants will also include bonuses to child care providers that increase salaries and benefits for their workers or expand capacity and services for children in their care. 

Eligibility

All EEC-licensed providers open to serve children are eligible for this funding. Funded programs approved by EEC by March 11, 2021 and run by private schools that otherwise meet the conditions above are also eligible for this funding.

This is a non-competitive grant application. 

These grants are in addition to current state funding and do not replace the existing subsidy funding system. All providers that meet the eligibility criteria can receive these funds, regardless of whether or not they serve subsidized children.  Providers are eligible for operational funding for the months they are open. 

Programs will not be penalized for a temporary COVID-related emergency closure that occurs during the grant period.

EEC-licensed providers with more than one site in Massachusetts may apply for each site. Funds will be calculated at the provider site level based on the criteria set forth in the formula. Each provider site must complete an individual application to be considered for funding.

Programs should complete the full application to request funds and then recertify their application information each month (updating it as needed) to continue receiving monthly payments. Programs will receive notifications via email and LEAD reminding them to update their applications each month.

Programs have an opportunity to submit corrections for prepopulated grant information within the grant application itself.

C3 Funding Formula

The Department of Early Education & Care has developed the Commonwealth Cares for Children (C3) formula to distribute Child Care Stabilization funds in up to twelve monthly payments to support early education and care providers’ day-to-day operational and workforce costs. The C3 formula considers each child care provider’s licensed capacity, workforce investments, and the vulnerability of the community they serve. 

Key components of the formula include:

  • Funding amounts are determined based on capacity and staffing costs.
  • The formula also uses an equity adjustment for programs located in historically under-resourced communities or providing services to significant numbers of low-income children.

You can watch a recording of a recent C3 Information Session to learn more.

Allowable Expenditures

Per federal regulations, providers may use the grant funds on one or more of the following categories:

  • Personnel costs, benefits, premium pay, and recruitment and retention
  • Rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, or insurance
  • Personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitation supplies and services, or training
  • Professional development related to health and safety practices
  • Purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies to respond to COVID-19

Timeline

The application for EEC’s ARPA Child Care Stabilization funds opened on August 3, 2021.

In December 2021 the six-month grant program set to end in January was extended through June 2022.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

Application Process

Accessing the Application:

  • To access the application providers will first need to enter their LEAD username and password and click login.
  • Once logged in, you will land on the homepage​. You should then click on view grants under the “Grants Management” banner.
  • If you have one program site this will take you to the EEC ARPA Grants Dashboard. If you have more than one program site, you will need to select each program site separately.
  • Click “Apply Today” to begin your application.

EEC is committed to keeping this application simple while still collecting critical information about programs and their use of funds. To complete your application, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Information on classrooms, current enrollment, and scholarships
  • Information on educator/ assistant compensation
  • Confirmation of consumer web page rate and hours information (Providers can view and update this information in LEAD).
  • Race/ Ethnicity and Gender of FCC Operator/Center Director
  • Attestations: maintaining salaries and providing tuition relief
  • A budget is NOT required for this application.

EEC will require a mid-point and post-grant report to collect information on how the funds were used and submit required state and federal reporting. Payment disbursement will be based on the date of application approval. Payment schedules will be available within the application.

Resources

User Guide - Grant Survey

Frequently Asked Questions

A Video Message from Commissioner Aigner-Treworgy

Child Care Stabilization Grants Help Desk Support:
1-833-600-2074    eecgrantsupport@mtxb2b.com

Application Guidance:
EEC Child Care Stabilization Grant Application User Guide (8/3/21)
EEC Child Care Stabilization Grant Application User Guide - Spanish
EEC Child Care Stabilization Grant Application User Guide - Mandarin
EEC Child Care Stabilization Grant Application User Guide - Portuguese

Video Resource Library:
EEC Child Care Stabilization Grants Video Walk Through: How to Submit an Application

Sample Grant Application:
EEC GSA Child Care Stabilization Grant Application
EEC FCC Child Care Stabilization Grant Application

Visit the C3 Formula Calculator:
This calculator is designed to help programs understand funding they might receive for the Child Care Stabilization Grant. This calculator is designed to help you understand the funding your program might expect from this grant. Please be aware that the award estimate provided by this calculator is only an estimate based on the information provided. Your final award amount will be determined based on your official application.

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