At the mayor’s direction, the City has committed $5 million in CARES Act funding to the effort, matching the County’s $5 million commitment approved earlier this week.
“Our economy is powered by people. People with families, with children. That’s why childcare is economic development. You can't have one without the other,” Faulconer said. “So today we are proud to announce that San Diego is expanding childcare support for our essential and frontline workers. This funding will support them so they keep our communities safe and our families healthy.”
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the City received $248 million to address Covid-19 related expenses. Essential workers are eligible to receive childcare assistance regardless of their income, including health care workers, first responders, emergency medical services personnel, grocery store staff and environmental services professionals. Childcare providers are also eligible for relief.
“Life is a struggle for many families under normal circumstances and, during a pandemic, financial and childcare struggles are magnified. The $10 million in combined childcare vouchers we’re making available for essential workers and vulnerable working families will ease some anxiety during this difficult time,” said Fletcher, the County’s Covid-19 Subcommittee co-chair.
“The collaborative spirit that has existed between the County and City throughout this public health crisis is a testament to the strength of the relationship and bond we have built over the past year and a half. Thank you, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the San Diego City Council for your continued partnership.”
Funding value and eligibility is set according to a tiered system set by the California Department Education which first prioritizes at-risk populations, then essential workers that do not exceed income eligibility thresholds and can’t work remotely, families with children with disabilities or special health care needs who are enrolled in early learning and care services, and workers who exceed income eligibility thresholds and can’t work remotely.
Faulconer is proposing to partner with the YMCA and Child Development Associates to administer the funds through the California Alternative Payment Program (CAPP). These entities have been distributing vouchers from funding that was made available from other programs. They will use the same administrative, parent eligibility criteria and program guidelines detailed in the California Department of Education Early Childhood Learning and Education Division Management Bulletin.
“The need for childcare is critical for workers who are on the front lines of the Covid-19 crisis, especially our health care workers, so they can continue to do their jobs at full productivity despite the shutdown of schools and some childcare centers,” Cate said.
“As chair of the City’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, and a father of two, access to quality childcare remains one of my top priorities. Today's allocation will help many and it is my hope we expand the definition of essential workers to include many more working families that need support. Together, we will continue to take action and make conscious steps to re-opening and recovering San Diego.”
Fletcher and the County Board of Supervisors proposed a similar action earlier this week to dedicate $5 million in federal stimulus funding for emergency childcare support for San Diego County essential workers.
The vouchers will be available until the funds are fully exhausted. The funds will pay for more than 5,000 children with daycare needs over the next two months. The distribution of funds is contingent on support from the San Diego City Council.
A statewide “Stay-at-Home” order is in effect. For more information on the order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state, please visit COVID19.ca.gov.
For information regarding Covid-19 cases and directives from the County of San Diego public health officials, please visit coronavirus-sd.com.
For the latest City operational updates and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.