Kent County awards funding to help child care centers

Coronavirus
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(File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County officials say they have recently awarded an organization funds to help more than 600 child care centers implement new COVID-19 safety protocols.

First Steps Kent, an independent nonprofit aiming to strengthen early childhood services, was awarded in $450,000 in federal CARES Act dollars.

According to a county news release, First Steps Kent recently surveyed providers on their needs. Based on those comments, those organization says the funding will be used to distribute easy-to-clean toys, a new curriculum to accommodate virtual learning and cleaning supplies.

The items will be given to providers based on how they are licensed, the county said.

The county says the organization will also give technical assistance support, like applying for past unemployment benefits and tax preparation, to providers.

“Too many parents are caught between the need to earn a living and the fear of sending their kids to child care,” said Kent County Board of Commissioners Chair Mandy Bolter in a press release. “We can get our parents back to work and our economy back on track by helping child care providers meet the highest standards of public health and safety.”

Child care providers who had a decline in business due to the pandemic can apply for additional grant funding through the Kent County Small Business Recovery Program. Protective gear can be obtained through the county’s program.

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