State aims for better early childhood ed with new position, grant money

Delaware Early Childhood Education

 

The state of Delaware has created a $1 million fund to help child care center recoup some of the money they’ve had to spend to help kids with remote learning.

The Department of Education also announced a new position that will oversee two state offices that work with child care centers.

Ultimately, the moves are designed to support a stronger system to help children and their families, partly by making sure the kids get the best care and developmental stimulus they need to do well at school and in life.

The Delaware Department of Education and Gov. John Carney said announced Monday that  Yvette Sanchez Fuentes will become the first associate secretary for early childhood support, overseeing both the Office of Early Learning and the Office of Child Care Licensing.

She served as the director for the Office of Head Start in the Obama administration and served for two years as the president of the National Alliance for Hispanic Families. She starts Nov. 9. 

The new $1 million Child Care Remote Learning Grant that will be paid for with the state’s share of its federal CARES Act funds. It will allow licensed child care centers and homes to apply for $500 to $7,500 grants to help pay for the costs of helping their school-age children dealing with online classes. Many providers serve children from more than one district/charter, and the system needs often are different. 

The application will be available on www.de.gov/coronavirus by the end of the week.

The remote learning grant is in addition to the Enhanced Reimbursement Program Delaware created in April. Through September, it has given child care centers and homes more than $75 million to keep staff paid, help meet strict health guidance and assists with increased operating costs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The state also is doubling the funding for the Early Childhood Assistance Program funding to at least $12.2 million by 2024. That move is part of a recent settlement in an ongoing education funding lawsuit.  It must be approved by the Delaware General Assembly when it reconvenes in 2021.

“Providers have stepped up to fill an important need for Delaware families, and this grant funding will help them with the additional costs they face to expand their operations to support school age students,” Carney said in a statement. 

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