Administration commitment to working families focuses on affordable, quality child care

(TRENTON) – First Lady Tammy Murphy and New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson today announced that families throughout the state who receive support from New Jersey’s child care subsidy program will see $54 million ($30 million federal; $24 million state) in increased funding as part of the Murphy Administration’s continued effort to help working families in New Jersey.

Subsidies will increase by as much as 10 percent, depending on the age of the child, and will be implemented in two phases, with the first installment occurring this month and the second in January.  Added funding is available to support and incentivize quality improvement among child care providers.

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“A mother should never have to choose between paying her rent and keeping her baby in quality child care” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Investing in child care is a critical component to reducing maternal and infant mortality as well as a commitment to New Jersey families, gender equality, and the general wellbeing of our children.”

The Murphy Administration is making child care a priority given its central role in supporting working families and the importance of quality care in early childhood development.  Today’s announcement builds on the 2018 Murphy Administration investment of $30 million to increase rates for child care – the first substantial increase in child care center rates in nearly a decade.   

Altogether, support for infant care will have increased by nearly 40 percent under the Murphy Administration – from about $724 a month to $994 by January 1.  For parents who select an infant care provider with a three-star quality rating from our Grow NJ Kids quality improvement program, that rate will have jumped even further, reaching $1,093. 

Under the Murphy Administration, toddler care rates will have risen from $717 in to $830 per month and pre-school rates will have risen from $585 to $690 per month by January, with higher rates for quality rated programs.

“Quality, affordable child care is what working families want and need to succeed in New Jersey,” Commissioner Johnson said. “The Murphy Administration is making child care a priority because we know that it is hard to be successful at work or in school if you don’t have confidence that your children are getting the care they need.  We owe it to our families who are striving every day to get on the best possible financial footing to give them the peace of mind that comes from quality child care.  Plus, investing in child care simply makes good economic sense to help continue to build and support our state’s workforce, attract new businesses and grow our economy.”

“This latest investment in families, children and child care providers is critical to our state,” Deputy Commissioner Elisa Neira said. “The Murphy Administration is dedicated to increasing access to affordable child care for New Jersey families so they can get the child care they need while they work or attend school or training.”

New Jersey’s child care subsidy program helps families with lower-to-moderate incomes who are working, in training or in school afford child care. About 5,000 child care providers in New Jersey participate in the program, which serves approximately 100,000 children per year.   The child care rate increases announced today come as the state’s minimum wage rises and will also help child care providers support wage increases. 

Grow NJ Kids, New Jersey’s Quality Rating Improvement System, is New Jersey’s program to raise the quality of child care and early learning across the state.  Grow NJ Kids gives child care and early learning programs resources to assess and improve their programs, while providing parents with information that allows them to evaluate the quality of programs and make the best choices for their child.

 “Children who are in quality early learning programs when they are young are better prepared with better reading and math skills,” said Natasha Johnson, Assistant Commissioner of Human Services’ Division of Family Development. “Grow NJ Kids is helping New Jersey’s child care providers enhance program quality, and these new investments in quality further reward their success.”