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San Diego County Launches Grant Program For Day Cares Impacted By Pandemic

Holly Weber talks to a student at Magic Hours Preschool in this undated photo.
Holly Weber
Holly Weber talks to a student at Magic Hours Preschool in this undated photo.

San Diego County's cash-strapped child care providers who’ve seen their costs go up and revenue go down amid the pandemic are now eligible for a little relief.

Starting Monday, they can apply for small grants that come from federal CARES Act funding and are distributed by San Diego County and local nonprofits.

San Diego County Launches Grant Program For Day Cares Impacted By Pandemic
Listen to this story by Claire Trageser.

Last month, county Board of Supervisors voted to spend $25 million to help existing home day cares and larger child care centers with costs related to COVID-19. Many of these businesses have cut their class sizes and now have extra cleaning and staffing costs.


Some say they are in danger of going out of business.

RELATED: San Diego Facing A Child Care Crisis As Pandemic Decimates Finances Of Providers

San Diego County Launches Grant Program For Daycares Impacted By Pandemic

"The childcare sector is very important as our economy cannot be sustainable if parents do not have safe places for their children to be cared for, and educated while they are working," said Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who proposed the grant program. "(It) will help childcare providers make their centers safe during the coronavirus pandemic and allow them to remain open so parents can return to work."

Under the grant program, home day cares licensed for as many as 14 children can receive up to $3,500 and those licensed for up to eight children can receive as much as $2,750.

Larger licensed child care centers can get up to $175 per child, while unlicensed summer day camps and community youth clubs such as Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego can get up to $100 per child.


The San Diego Foundation, YMCA of San Diego County and Child Development Associates have partnered with the county to distribute the grants. Pamela Gray Payton, the vice president of The San Diego Foundation, said the grants will have a larger impact on the local economy.

"We're really hoping this will allow child care centers to create more space for children because families are returning to work," she said. "Even those facilities that have just a few kids right now want to get back to the maximum."

The money can be spent on almost anything, she said.

"For rent, staffing, whatever you need to do that is directly tied to your facility," she said.

Providers can begin applying for the grants on Monday (8/24) at The San Diego Foundation's website. They will accept applications for 10 days and then will begin awarding the money within a few weeks.

The child care industry has long been in crisis, and COVID-19 only made things worse. Now affordable, quality care is even more challenging to find, and staff are not paid enough to stay in the field. This series spotlights people each struggling with their own childcare issues, and the providers struggling to get by.