Gov. Mike Parson announced that new grant funding is available through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of Childhood for eligible child care providers and businesses and/or community partners who want to work together to expand child care in their local community.
The Innovation Start-up Grant application is open on the Child Care Relief Funds website (https://earlyconnections.mo.gov/innovation-start) and must be submitted by May 31.
“Access to quality child care for Missouri families is critical to achieving our workforce development goals,” Parson said. “Missouri businesses consistently rank child care access as one of the largest hurdles to recruiting and retaining skilled workers. This grant opportunity will allow more businesses and providers to work together to start new child care programs in their communities. Coupled with the three child care tax credits we’ve asked the General Assembly to approve, we can not only increase child care access but sustain it for more Missouri families now and into the future.”
“Stakeholders at the state and local levels are working hard to address the serious child care capacity challenges in our state,” said Dr. Pam Thomas, assistant commissioner, Office of Childhood. “We are slowly recovering from the impact the pandemic had on Missouri’s child care system, but we still have a lot of work to do. Start-up and expansion grants like this one are tools to continue improving child care access for children and families.”
The amount of funding available is dependent upon the facility capacity, the hours of operation, and a commitment in matching funds or in-kind contributions from businesses and/or community partners supporting the new child care program. If awarded, the provider must become a licensed child care program with children enrolled and attending by March 31, 2024.
Additional innovation programs will be announced in the coming weeks:
•An expansion grant for current programs working with a business or community partner to support increased access to child care in their community.
•A workforce grant for current programs working with a business or community partner to help restore full capacity by providing funding for teachers in child care programs.
These grants were part of Parson’s fiscal year 2023 budget plan for Missouri’s child care portion of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Discretionary funds.
Applicants may review the Innovation Start-up Grant application instructions (https://earlyconnections.mo.gov/media/pdf/2023-innovation-start-instructions) and email ChildCareRelief@dese.mo.gov with questions.