More than 10,000 Alabama child care workers are receiving bonuses totaling $12.6 million following the first round of Child Care Workforce Stabilization grants from the Alabama Department of Human Resources. The second round runs from Feb. 28 through March 18.
DHR awarded grants to 1,278 child care providers who applied in December 2021 and January 2022. The grants fund bonuses of $1,500 for full-time employees and $750 for part-time employees. Of all eligible child care providers in the state, 65 percent applied for and received grants. Altogether, 10,065 employees are approved for bonuses.
DHR unveiled the program in November to help providers recruit and retain qualified staff as the child care industry recovers from the pandemic.
“The nationwide staffing shortage has tested the resilience of Alabama’s child care providers,” said Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner. “As they continue to persevere, these bonuses will help recruit much-needed reinforcements and reward current employees for their dedicated service to the children and families of Alabama.”
Eligible employees may receive up to eight quarterly bonuses before the two-year grant period ends in September 2023. Seven grant opportunities remain. To qualify, providers must be in operation when they apply, and they must continue operating for at least one year after receiving a grant. Applicants also must be in good standing with DHR.
DHR administers the grants through the Alabama Partnership for Children and the Talladega Clay Randolph Child Care Corporation. Funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan Act.
This is the third grant opportunity DHR has offered to child care providers during the pandemic. The two previous programs awarded a combined 2,427 grants totaling $56.8 million to help providers reopen and remain open. Applications, grant schedules and additional eligibility requirements are available online.