State official pledges support for early childhood educators during visit to Exton – Daily Local

EXTON® Acting Department of Social Services (DHS) Secretary Meg Snead joined early childhood educators and community members at the Lionville Center at the Warwick Child Care Center in Exton to thank the educators for their services to working children and families in Pennsylvania during the COVID-19 crisis and to discuss the Wolf administration’s commitment to helping the child care industry recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.

“For our younger Pennsylvanians, an early childhood education experience can shape their lifelong educational, social and emotional development. With child care and early learning services that kept their doors open, essential workers had the peace of mind of knowing their children were safe while they occupied our hospitals, stocked our grocery shelves, and answered questions. our emergency calls, ”Acting Secretary Snead said. “A thriving child care industry is fundamental to the rest of our economy, and this industry and the dedicated educators who come forward every day to help our children grow up are essential to our recovery from this pandemic.”

The Wolf administration has taken important steps to support the child care industry during the COVID-19 crisis and will continue to do so. Last month, DHS announced plans to distribute $ 655 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to stabilize the child care industry in Pennsylvania. Licensed child care providers are invited to submit one-time grant applications that represent an unprecedented investment in the child care industry and its dedicated workforce. This grant funding can be used to cover expenses, support staff, and provide support to this critical industry that continues to face the pandemic. Licensed child care providers are encouraged to apply for funding until January 31, 2022, and more information on grant funding and the application process can be found here.

“The $ 655 million we are investing in child care as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act will help us stabilize this industry so that it can continue to be there for children and families as we move forward. “Acting Secretary Snead said. “Educators and providers of child care and early learning have supported families in Pennsylvania throughout this pandemic, and we will support them through this economic recovery.”

The Wolf administration also recently announced plans to invest $ 352 million included in the American Rescue Plan Act for the Child Care Development Fund to support Pennsylvania’s Child Care Works (CCW) program, which helps active families. low income to access child care. Starting January 1, 2022, funding will increase support for child care providers participating in the CCW, reduce barriers for parents, and encourage providers to offer child care services at non-traditional hours. , thus helping parents who work second and third shifts. Investments in subsidized child care are also helping more Pennsylvania families access high-quality child care, regardless of where they live or what income they earn.

Additionally, childcare providers received three separate payments from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act, totaling $ 220 million, the distribution of which was based on findings from ‘a Penn State study on the impact of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania. child care industry. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania also distributed $ 303 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 to support child care.

Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child found that a child’s environment before and shortly after birth “provides powerful experiences that chemically alter certain genes in a way that then defines how much and when they are are expressed ”. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, early childhood education can protect children from future onset of disease or disability, as well as countering certain socio-economic disadvantages. Early childhood education has also been associated with increased maternal employment and income, according to the CDC; savings in health care costs; improving health outcomes associated with education; earnings gains after high school graduation; and better jobs and higher incomes throughout the years of employment for children participating in these programs.

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