Amid COVID pandemic, Dutchess County offers child care aid

Daily Freeman-4 months before

Scholarships will be awarded from Oct. 1 through the end of the academic year, by a random selection process, to eligible families with school-aged children, though families with children who have special needs will be prioritized.

The fund will cover 75% of the tuition for each child, paid directly to a regulated child care facility in Dutchess County. Families will be responsible for 25% of the tuition. All county-regulated child care providers are eligible to participate.

Complete program guidance, income eligibility guidelines and application instructions can be found o...line at bit.ly/covid-schol.

This child care scholarship fund will allow parents to work, look for work or attend college while filling the gap between the number of days students will be physically in school and when they are not, according to a press release announcing the initiative. Families are encouraged to consider their available resources and supports and request the minimal number of days needed to ensure the scholarship funding can reach as many people as possible.

“These unprecedented times have impacted families in so many ways, and the start of the new school year presents a new dilemma as working parents must weigh concerns about at-home learning and child care while they earn a living to support their family,” Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said in a prepared statement.

Funding for this scholarship program was made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to Dutchess County for distribution through the federal Community Development Block Grant program. Dutchess County is partnering with the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam Inc. for its implementation.

To be eligible, households must not exceed 80% of the county’s median income limits and families must live in Dutchess County, excluding the city of Poughkeepsie. (The city received its own funding.)

Also, parent(s) or guardian(s) must be working, looking for work or in school to be eligible, unless there are extenuating circumstances and a demonstrated COVID-related need for child care despite not meeting this criterion.

Eligible children must not be receiving any other child care subsidy or scholarship, such as a Department of Community and Family Services subsidy or Dyson Scholarship. If eligible for a subsidy from Family Services, applicants must apply for funding from that program.

Dutchess County funds many programs through the Agency Partner Grant program that can be a resource to students. Information about those programs is available online at bit.ly/dc-apgp.

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