TRENTON – By Eva Loayza-McBride
As part of the Murphy Administration’s ongoing efforts to bolster services for families with children,Governor Phil Murphy and Human Services Commissioner Sarah Adelman today announced that $10 million in grants will be available for summer youth camps to help cover operational expenses and provide financial assistance to eligible families.
“This funding represents my administration’s continued commitment to supporting New Jersey families by strengthening the services they rely upon,” said Governor Murphy. “Summer youth camps serve as an essential child care option for working parents by providing a safe and enriching environment for children while school is out of session. Supporting these providers and making these services more affordable will benefit many families in the coming months.”
“Summer camp is not just a tradition but a necessity for many working families,” said Commissioner Adelman. “We are glad we can make these grants available again for the second Summer season to help these providers with operational expenses, and assist more families in affording this care over the summer months.”
Eligible summer youth camp providers must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families and be approved by the Department of Health to operate a summer camp for the 2022 summer camp season. They must also comply with local, state and federal health and safety requirements.
Summer Camp grants range from $7,500 to $25,000, depending on camp enrollment and the length of the camp operating season. Half of the grant must be used to provide financial assistance to families not eligible for child care assistance and the other half must be used to pay for operational expenses such as staff wages, rent, utilities, facilities maintenance, equipment and supplies.
Providers can apply through the New Jersey Child Care Information System.
Summer youth camp providers will be responsible for managing the application approval and financial assistance awards for eligible families, while Human Services’ Division of Family Development will provide the application and requirement instructions.
Camp providers receiving these grants should make potentially eligible families aware of this assistance. New Jersey families with a household income under $100,000 annually, who are not receiving child care assistance from another publicly funded program, can apply to their camp.
Since January, the Department has also approved $210 million in American Rescue Plan-funded stabilization grants to help child care providers pay for operational expenses, and has so far delivered $33 million in $1,000 hiring and retention bonus payments to 33,000 child care workers.
The Murphy Administration launched the hiring and retention bonus grant program in an effort to recruit new child care workers and retain staff. The bonuses are partly funded from the Child Care Revitalization Fund approved by the Legislature and signed by Governor Murphy last year. A new round of bonuses will be available later this year.
The Department has also shifted to paying child care providers based on enrollment rather than attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The enrollment-based payment policy was set to end on June 30; however, the Department has identified additional discretionary funds to extend it through August 2022.
“We know the pandemic created financial challenges for child care providers that they continue to recover from. We’re glad these providers can benefit from these funds, and that the new grants announced today will continue this trajectory of assistance for parents and providers, as we approach the summer camp season,” said Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira.
The ARP stabilization grants range from $30,000 to $120,000 for licensed child care centers, depending on license capacity, provider type and monthly expenses. Registered family child care providers are eligible for $4,000 in grants. The application period for the stabilization grants closed at the end of April, but will reopen again this summer for anyone who missed the deadline or is a new provider.
“By supporting these providers, we are supporting parents who rely on their services,” said Human Services Assistant Commissioner Natasha Johnson, who directs the Division of Family Development. “We encourage summer camp programs to apply for these grants, and also urge residents interested in learning more about the state’s child care assistance program to visit childcarenj.gov.”
Help paying for summer camp is available for eligible families with low-income who are working, attending school or in employment training through the Child Care Assistance Program. To learn more and see if you are eligible, visit ChildCareNJ.gov