Governor Phil Murphy today signed into law A-5445, which provides $10 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for child care providers throughout New Jersey. The bill – sponsored by Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Joseph Lagana and Assembly Members Lisa Swain, Gabriela Mosquera, and Adam Taliaferro – will provide grants to child care providers in need. The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s economy recover from the year-long pandemic.
“Child care providers are absolutely critical to New Jersey’s workforce, and the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them especially hard,” said Governor Murphy. “This legislation will help to ensure that these providers can continue to weather the pandemic and remain open and able to meet the needs of so many New Jerseyans who rely on them.”
“Over the last year, our child care centers have had to navigate necessary COVID-19 safety protocols and restrictions, which have created additional pressures on their budgets,” said Senator Ruiz. “This funding will help ensure these businesses are able to keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities as parents begin working in person once again. We cannot afford to have this industry collapse, they are part of what makes New Jersey strong.”
“The pandemic caused an outsized financial impact on the childcare centers so many families rely on. Reduced capacity has taken a serious toll on these businesses,” said Senator Lagana. “Federal funding allocated by this law will help them remain open and able to serve their communities as many parents return to working in person.”
“The parents in our state both require and deserve affordable, accessible child care. Providing financial support to child care centers in need will help ensure these critical services are available to them,” said Assembly Members Swain, Mosquera and Taliaferro.
“During the height of the pandemic, more than half of child care providers had to close their doors, hurting our families and our economy,” said Congressman Josh Gottheimer. “But now, thanks to the bipartisan CARES Act, federal resources are being delivered to support our families and child care providers, and to help them recover.”
“Even when faced with unprecedented difficult challenges, child care providers have played a crucial role in the state’s COVID-19 response and have showed steadfast resiliency and dedication to supporting New Jersey’s working families,” said Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “Without the commitment of child care providers so many of our frontline essential workers would have been unable to go to work filling so many important needs. I thank Governor Murphy for signing this bill and the Legislature for moving this forward. These grants will prove vital to child care providers that need support as a result of this public health crisis, and along with the efforts by the Murphy Administration, will help child care providers continue to support New Jersey families and help our state’s economy and workforce move forward.”
“Child care providers and the vital services they provide for working families are critical to ensuring a strong and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The funding Governor Murphy has announced today will be a lifeline for these businesses that will allow them to continue providing quality care for children throughout the state.”
The Murphy Administration has spent nearly $200 million of Coronavirus Relief Funds on child care capacity since last fall. To date, over 3,000 child care providers have received grants to meet new COVID-19 health and safety precautions and stabilize their operations, and a similar amount received enhanced subsidy payments between September and February.
The relief aid will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which so far has provided more than $250 million in aid to 55,000 New Jersey businesses. EDA will open an application pre-registration process for the grant money later this month.