Smart Lunches Blog

New COVID Relief Bill Includes Support for Preschools and Child Care Centers

Jan 27, 2021 1:56:44 PM / by Smart Lunches


Congress allocates $10 billion in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant 

Back in late December, a new COVID relief bill was enacted, which included funding for many business sectors affected by the pandemic. This legislation includes $10 billion for Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG) to support the many child care centers and preschools that have been struggling to remain open.

The CCDBG funding is targeted to help centers remain open despite low enrollment and even lower attendance. The Block Grant provides funds to cover specific operational costs including wages for employees. It also offers assistance to struggling families in the form of tuition reembursement.These funds may also be used to provide child care assistance to workers deemed essential during the response to the COVID-19 pandemic regardless of the income eligibility requirements of the CCDBG Act.2

A dire snapshot of the child care sector in 2020

In November, The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) surveyed over 6,000 child care centers. Their responses reflect the stark financial reality that child care centers face.

A staggering 56% are losing money each day that they remain open and 44% of centers that are still open were unable to say how much longer they will be able to keep operating.3 With so many centers in fiscal distress, this government funding could not come soon enough.

The funding has been passed - what's next for the program?

Now that $10 billion has been allocated to the CCDBG, the federal Office of Child Care will develop guidance on best practice for allocation of the funds, and states have 60 days to report their intentions.

Industry advocates recommend that grants be targeted to underserved communities and essential workers through tuition subsidies. These funds may also be used to cover payroll and the increased costs of serving children safely during the pandemic.4

Time to start planning your re-opening strategy

This $10 billion in funding falls far short of the $50 billion in assistance requested by the child care sector, but in combination with the funding of additional Paycheck Protection Program loans in December's relief bill, the light at the end of the tunnel is looking a little brighter. For preschools and child care centers, it might be time to start planning to re-open or expand operations in 2021.


  1. Montague, Z. (2020, December 28). A Look at What's in the Stimulus Package Trump Signed. Retrieved January 08, 2021, from

  2. U.S.Cong., House - Foreign Affairs | Senate- Foreign Relations. (n.d.). H.R 133 - Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (pp. 1826-1832) [Cong. 133 from 116th Cong., 68th sess.]. Retrieved 2021, from

  3. Am I Next? Sacrificing to Stay Open, Childcare Providers Face a Bleak Future With out Relief. (2020, December). Retrieved January 08, 2021, from

  4. Johnson-Staub, C. (2020, December 22). COVID Relief Package Includes Some Relief for Child Care Providers. Retrieved January 08, 2021, from

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Topics: Smart Lunches, child care, family style, preschool, early childhood, cacfp, covid-19, coronavirus

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