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NCDHHS to extend grant program supporting early care and learning teacher pay

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RALEIGH — Grant support to boost compensation for North Carolina’s early care and learning teachers and staff will continue through December 2023, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced today.

Since October 2021, the NCDHHS Division of Child Development and Early Education has distributed $655 million in Child Care Stabilization Grants to 4,247 child care centers and family child care homes across the state. Funded by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act, the grants have helped North Carolina’s long under-paid child care programs begin to rebound from pandemic-driven business losses and expenses and compete in the tight job market. With the funding running out and programs still struggling, DCDEE will use about $150 million in discretionary ARPA funding allocated for workforce initiatives to continue one component of the grants – compensation supports, which have helped to boost teacher pay and benefits. However, the compensation support grants will not be large enough to fully replace the stabilization grants funding.

“This extension of compensation grants is another important step toward recognizing the crucial work of early educators and helping child care programs stay open for the families who count on them,” said Susan Gale Perry, NCDHHS chief deputy secretary for Opportunity and Well-Being. “At the same time, we can’t rely on temporary solutions; we need long-term investment to strengthen the early care and learning workforce and ensure access to high quality care. This workforce is fundamental to our economy and foundational to the well-being of children and families.”

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Growing the economy starts with strengthening the early care and learning professionals that help families raise their children and raise North Carolina. To work, parents need access to affordable, high-quality early care and learning for their young children. North Carolina’s early care and learning teachers provide education and care for more than 265,000 children each year. Investing in the workforce of high-quality early care and learning teachers will give children what they need to succeed, parents the confidence to go back to work and the state a highly productive present and future workforce.

To learn more and apply for North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants, visit ncchildcare.ncdhhs.gov/Stabilization-Grants.

To learn more about the value of the state’s early care and learning network, visit Raise North Carolina at RaiseNC.nc.gov.

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