Child care workers have been a boon to many parents trying to navigate their way through the COVID-19 pandemic, and in Alabama, those workers are being rewarded.
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More than 10,000 child care workers in Alabama have received bonuses totaling $12.6 million as a result of the first round of Department of Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants. Alabama Human Resources (DHR), according to the Alabama Political Reporter (APR). The second round runs from February 28 to March 18.
DHR awarded grants to 1,278 child care workers who applied in December 2021 and January 2022. Bonuses of $1,500 were paid to full-time employees and $750 to part-time employees. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of all eligible child care providers in Alabama applied for and received the grants. A total of 10,065 child care workers have been approved for bonuses.
The program was launched in November to help child care providers recruit and retain qualified staff after losing many workers during the pandemic.
“The nationwide staffing shortage has tested the resilience of Alabama’s child care providers,” Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner said in a statement. . “As they continue to persevere, these bonuses will help recruit much-needed reinforcements and reward current employees for their dedicated service to Alabama’s children and families.”
Eligible workers can get up to eight quarterly bonuses before the two-year subsidy period ends in September 2023, the APR noted. To be eligible, child care providers must be in operation at the time of application and they must continue to operate for at least one year after receiving the grant. Applicants must also be in good standing with the DHR.
DHR administers the grants through the Alabama Partnership for Children and the Talladega Clay Randolph Child Care Corporation. Funding comes from the American Rescue Plan.
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This is the third grant DHR has offered to educators during the pandemic. A pair of earlier programs awarded a combined 2,427 grants totaling $56.8 million to help providers reopen and stay open.
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