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Los Angeles Home-Based Child Care Providers Can Apply For $10,000 Grants

Two children sit at a classroom table while watching videos on tablets.
There are more than 5,000 licensed home-based child care centers in L.A. County. This image was a part of our series Child Care, Unfiltered.
(Jackie Jackson
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The City of Los Angeles will soon distribute $3 million to family child care providers who have continued to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

The money will be divided up into about 230 grants of $10,000 each. The program is open only to licensed home-based child care providers and the application process, which starts Monday, Dec. 13, prioritizes businesses serving low-income communities in LA.

”We wanted to make sure that the programs that were the most vulnerable had the greatest chance of support,” said Angie Garling, the vice president of early care and education at the non-profit Low Income Investment Fund, which helps administer the grant program.

Even before COVID-19, California had been losing child care slots for years and the cost of providing care went up during the pandemic. More than three-quarters of California programs that stayed open lost income, according to a survey from UC Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.

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COVID Brought Additional Costs

Providers like Elsa Contreras in South L.A. paid a premium for cleaning supplies and protective gear. She also upgraded her internet so that kids could participate in their virtual learning from her home.

Contreras said it’s hard to figure out what she’s eligible for amid cooking, caring for and cleaning up after the dozen or so children she watches in her home every day. She did receive one payment through the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program, but isn’t sure what else she qualifies for.

“Honestly, I don't have time to be wasting… in providing all the documentation that they are requiring,” Contreras said.

Some providers might never learn about funding opportunities in the first place because information often trickles out to child care providers through word of mouth and social media.

The City of LA’s BusinessSource Centers and Low Income Investment Fund plan to help child care providers apply for the grant program and there will be a webinar with more information on Monday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m.

The funding is a blend of federal dollars and $500,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation, Garling said. The Low Income Investment Fund previously worked with the City of Los Angeles to distribute more than $11 million to 707 home- and center-based child care providers.

What questions do you have about early childhood education and development? What do you want to know about kids ages 0-5 and those who care for them in Southern California?
Decades of research indicates early childhood education significantly boosts children’s readiness to learn. Mariana Dale wants families, caregivers and educators to have the information they need to help children 0-5 grow and thrive by identifying what’s working and what’s not in California’s early childhood system.

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