NEW JERSEY — Child care providers throughout the state can apply for grants under legislation signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The legislation, sponsored by state Sen. M. Teresa Ruiz, provides $10 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for child care providers in need.

“Child care providers are absolutely critical to New Jersey’s workforce, and the COVID-19 pandemic has hit them especially hard,” Murphy said. “This legislation will help to ensure that these providers can continue to weather the pandemic and remain open and able to meet the needs of so many New Jerseyans who rely on them.”

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The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s economy recover from the year-long pandemic.

Ruiz, who represents Belleville and parts of Newark, said the state cannot afford to let the child care industry collapse.

“Over the last year, our child care centers have had to navigate necessary COVID-19 safety protocols and restrictions, which have created additional pressures on their budgets,” Ruiz said. “This funding will help ensure these businesses are able to keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities as parents begin working in person once again.”

The Murphy Administration has spent nearly $200 million of Coronavirus Relief Funds on child care capacity since last fall.

To date, over 3,000 child care providers have received grants to meet new COVID-19 health and safety precautions and stabilize their operations, and a similar amount received enhanced subsidy payments between September and February. 

“Even when faced with unprecedented difficult challenges, child care providers have played a crucial role in the state’s COVID-19 response and have showed steadfast resiliency and dedication to supporting New Jersey’s working families,” said Department of Human Services Acting Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “Without the commitment of child care providers so many of our frontline essential workers would have been unable to go to work filling so many important needs."

The relief aid will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which so far has provided more than $250 million in aid to 55,000 New Jersey businesses. EDA will open an application pre-registration process for the grant money later this month.

“Child care providers and the vital services they provide for working families are critical to ensuring a strong and equitable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “The funding Governor Murphy has announced today will be a lifeline for these businesses that will allow them to continue providing quality care for children throughout the state.”