United Way of North Jersey awards $750,000 child care grant

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MENDHAM, NJ — United Way of Northern New Jersey has received a $750,000 grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation that will help close the child care gap.

The grant will continue to build and strengthen United In Care, a three-year pilot project designed to address inequitable gaps in the child care system.

United In Care is focused on increasing the availability and affordability of quality child care for those struggling to afford basic services for ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and families in poverty. The project also aims to improve the quality of life of child care workers, many of whom are essential ALICE workers, United Way explained in a press release.

“We are extremely grateful to the Kellogg Foundation for this generous grant and its commitment to helping solve New Jersey’s child care crisis,” said United Way’s Senior Director of Strategies Michelle Roers, who oversees the United In Care project. “This funding will help us continue to implement the program to ensure that more New Jersey families who need child care not only have access to it, but receive the high-quality care they deserve. .”

United Way said it is currently targeting three vulnerable areas across the state to test the model: rural Warren County, growing Gloucester County and urban Hudson County. All three regions lack access to affordable, quality childcare and have over 35% of households in the ALICE demographic category.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit over a year ago, licensed child care centers and family child care providers (or FCCs) have been hit hard. According to Child Care Aware, up to 50% of the state’s 4,000 licensed child care centers have closed or are expected to close due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, Child Care Aware reports that more than 300 New Jersey FCCs have shut down for good, throwing an already shattered child care industry into yet another crisis, United Way reported.

The United In Care model partners registered child care centers with local family care providers to increase capacity, leverage expertise, share resources and maintain critical infrastructure. It brings together the reach and scale of child care centers – which provide tax administration/operations, marketing, replacement/supplementary staffing, training and learning – with the intimacy and expertise of FCC recorded. United In Care not only supports providers, but also provides tuition assistance for ALICE families, the press release said.

At each stage of the project, key performance indicators, which measure outcomes such as increased capacity, increased affordability, improved salaries and better quality of care, are collected through feedback from families, centers and providers. participants and analyzed by data experts, the statement explains.

“The metrics, dashboards, and assessment tools will be the foundation for the program’s evolution and continuous improvement,” Roers said. “United In Care has the potential to transform the sector, promoting quality childcare and early childhood education and supporting economic opportunities for working parents and early childhood education professionals.

The Kellogg Foundation joins other philanthropic organizations advocating for United In Care, including the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund ($3.5 million), the Overdeck Family Foundation ($1.2 million), the David A. Tepper Foundation ($1.2 million), New Jersey Health Initiatives ($100,000). ) and Barclays ($100,000). United In Care has already raised $6.85 million of the project’s total $8.4 million budget.

United Way of Northern New Jersey is a nonprofit organization that fights to improve the lives of families and individuals in our five-county footprint who are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty.

United Way of Northern New Jersey serves Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties as well as parts of suburban Essex County including Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Livingston, Millburn-Short Hills , Montclair, Roseland, and Verona. For more information, call 973.993.1160 or visit United Way of Northern New Jersey.

The WK Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent private foundation by innovator and entrepreneur Will Keith Kellogg, is one of the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, the WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can achieve their full potential in school, work and in life. the life.

the Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works across the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Particular attention is given to priority locations where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority locations in the United States are Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti.

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This article originally appeared on the Mendham-Chester crest

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