We are sending the following on behalf of the Office of Early Learning. Questions should be directed to tina.shockley@doe.k12.de.us. Delaware Stars is not able to provide any additional information or answer questions.
 
The Delaware Early Education and Child Care Stabilization Fund (The Fund) will provide $66,752,816 in direct grants to support eligible child care providers across Delaware. The grants will cover eligible expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the program is to help child care providers stay in business and make child care more affordable for families. The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) is leading the administration of this grant and is working in close collaboration with the Department of Education (DOE) and the public partners to make it accessible to child care providers statewide.  
 
Delaware was awarded funds for the Stabilization Fund through the American Rescue Plan Act. Delaware has not received the funds yet but is establishing an ambitious rollout plan to get these funds to child care providers as fast as possible. Delays or changes in receiving the federal funds or in federal or state guidance may necessitate changes to the program rollout timeline and program rules.   
 
This FAQ has been developed to help answer your questions about available funds. The FAQ will be updated regularly.  
 
Eligible childcare providers will receive a one–time payment for eligible expenses incurred April 1 – June 30, 2021, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fund will include two separate applications, one for center-based programs and one for family child care providers. Eligible expenses include:  
  • Personnel costs, benefits, premium pay (*See definition at the end of this message*), and recruitment and retention.   
  • Rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, or insurance.  
  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), cleaning and sanitation supplies and services, or training and professional development related to health and safety practices.  
  • Purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies to respond to COVID-19. 
  • Goods and services necessary to maintain or resume childcare services.   
  • Mental health supports for children and employees.  

Applications will be posted on the DHSS website beginning on May 1, 2021. Applications will be accepted and processed on a rolling basis. In addition, a Fund hotline will be available for providers to ask questions and get technical assistance to complete their application.  
 
The next provider call is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 6pm. The format will be different this month and will focus on early childhood funding and workforce supports. Representatives from DHSS and DOE will provide an overview of the current funding and supports and will answer your questions related to those topics. In order to prepare for call, we are requesting that you submit your questions ahead of time. The Webex link and phone option are available below. 
Please email questions related to current/ future funding and workforce supports to early.learning@doe.k12.de.us by 4 PM on Tuesday, April 13th
  • Meeting Link 
  • Meeting number: 129 514 0983 / Password: f3aMSNS2f3X 
  • Join by phone: +1-408-418-9388 United States Toll Access code: 129 514 0983 
 
WHAT TYPE OF FUNDING IS BEING OFFERED?  
American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), Child Care Stabilization Fund provides $66,752,816 to Delaware to provide sub grants directly to eligible child care providers throughout Delaware. These funds will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Incomplete or duplicate applications will not be considered for funding until all information is provided. A complete application does not guarantee funding. Grants do not have to be repaid, unless the funds are used to pay for non-eligible expenses.  
 
HOW MUCH FUNDING AM I ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE?  
In accordance with Section 2202(d)(2)(C), eligible child care may receive funds “based on the provider’s stated current operating expenses, including costs associated with providing or preparing to provide child care services during the COVID–19 public health emergency, and to the extent practicable, cover sufficient operating expenses to ensure continuous operations.”   
 
Eligible providers applying for a grant must be able to provide information demonstrating personnel costs and expenses, rent or mortgage amount, utilities, maintenance and insurance, and PPE and equipment to respond to COVID-19 and the costs of goods and services needed to maintain child care services. 
 
If a provider is applying for a grant to make an improvement, the provider must be able to estimate the cost and provide documentation.  If the provider is applying for mental health supports for children and employees, the provider must estimate the cost and provide documentation.   
 
If the eligible provider was shut down during the pandemic, when applying for the grant, must provide an estimate of the costs to reopen. 
 
WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR GRANT FUNDS?  
The applicant must be an eligible child care provider on the date of submission of an application for the subgrant, and must be either: 
 
(i) open and available to provide child care services; or  
(ii) closed due to public health, financial hardship, or other reasons relating to the COVID–19 public health emergency. 
 
The first step in the applicant process will be to indicate that you are a licensed child care provider and you must indicate if you are open and available to provide child care services or closed and provide the specific reasons. To be considered for a sub grant, you must have closed due to the COVID–19 public health emergency.  
 
Any provider who is not is the state procurement payment system must create an account to be paid. Below is the link to begin this process:  https://esupplier.erp.delaware.gov/psc/fn92pdesup/SUPPLIER/ERP/c/SUP_OB_MENU.AUC_BIDDER_REGISTR.GBL
License exempt child care providers are not eligible.  
 
 I AM A HEAD START. AM I ELIGIBLE?  
Maybe. Head Start programs received Head Start funding during the COVID-19 crisis to address program costs and staff costs (ACF-PI-HS-21-01 Issued 2/19/2021). If you only provide a Head Start program, you are not eligible for this grant.  
 
APPLICATION PROCESS  
Applications will be posted on the DHSS website beginning May 1, 2021. Applications will be accepted and processed on a rolling basis. In addition, a Fund hotline will be available for providers to ask questions and get technical assistance to complete their application.  
 
We encourage all providers to join the monthly provider call on April 20, 2021 at 6:00pm. See details above to join the call. 
 
Process Outline:  
  • Eligible child care programs must complete and submit an online application. Providers should be prepared to provide their license number to apply and documentation to support their application.  
  • Providers who successfully complete an application will receive a confirmation email indicating their application has been received.  
  • The Fund Application will open on May 1, 2021. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Funds will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis until all available funding is awarded. Incomplete or duplicate applications will not be considered for funding until all information is provided. A complete application does not guarantee funding.  
  • Application changes will not be accepted after the application window closes.   
  • Applications will not be accepted after the application window closes.  
 
WHAT IF I MAKE A MISTAKE WHEN SUBMITTING MY APPLICATION OR I NEED TO MAKE AN ADJUSTMENT TO MY APPLICATION?  
We encourage all providers to participate in the monthly provider call on April 20, 2021 at 6:00pm, where we will share additional information and details. See meeting details above.   
 
CAN AN AGENCY SUBMIT ONE APPLICATION FOR ALL SITES IF THEY HAVE MORE THAN ONE SITE?  
No. Each site (physical location with a child care license number or provisional designation) is considered a different program. Each license number requires an application. 
  
AM I REQUIRED TO SUBMIT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS/RECORDS FOR THE GRANT?  
Yes, you will be required to submit supporting documentation with the online application. Providers who apply and accept the funds will be required to:  
  • Verify monthly expenses. If a provider is not able to verify an expense, they will be required to reimburse the State.  
  • Implement health and safety policies in line with guidance and orders from the State, and, to the greatest extent possible, implement policies in line with CDC guidance. 
  • Pay not less than full compensation, including benefits, for each employee, and will not take action that reduces weekly compensation. 
 
HOW WILL I RECEIVE MY GRANT FUNDS?  
After providers apply, they will receive a confirmation email indicating their application has been received. DHSS will verify eligibility and may contact the provider for clarification of application items.  
 
Any provider who is not is the state procurement payment system must create an account to be paid. Below is the link to begin this process:  https://esupplier.erp.delaware.gov/psc/fn92pdesup/SUPPLIER/ERP/c/SUP_OB_MENU.AUC_BIDDER_REGISTR.GBL 
   
 
HOW CAN I USE THE FUNDS? ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS?  
Funds may be used for eligible expenses incurred April 1 – June 31, 2021, resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care providers are eligible to receive funding to provide economic support and cover operational expenses incurred as a result of the business interruption due to COVID-19 public health emergency. Funds are provided based on an allocation formula for each provider. Eligible expenses include:  
  • Personnel costs, benefits, premium pay, and recruitment and retention.  
  • Rent or mortgage payments, utilities, facilities maintenance and improvements, or insurance.  
  • PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), cleaning and sanitation supplies and services, or training and professional development related to health and safety practices.  
  • Purchases of or updates to equipment and supplies to respond to COVID-19. 
  • Goods and services necessary to maintain or resume childcare services.  
  • Mental health supports for children and employees.  
 
WHEN DO I NEED TO SPEND THESE OPERATIONAL GRANT FUNDS?  
Providers must expend the funds within 6 months of receiving the funds.  
 
WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL IMPACT OF RECEIVING FUNDS IF I RECEIVE GRANT FUNDING?  
Weekly unemployment insurance eligibility may be affected if the grant funds were used to pay wages for you or your staff. Any of the grant dollars that are going toward wages will need to be reported as income when you or a staff member certify for unemployment insurance benefits. 
 
Funds paid to cover individual wages will be counted as personal income and will generate 1099 form. 

Providers should consult with a tax advisor regarding any possible tax implications. 
 
WHY MIGHT I BE REQUIRED TO RETURN THE FUNDS? 
You may be required to reimburse the State if you:  
  • Cannot verify an expense or used the funds to pay for non-eligible expenses.  
  • Do not implement health and safety policies in line with guidance and orders from the state, and, to the greatest extent possible, implement policies in line with CDC guidance. 
  • Pay less than full compensation, including benefits, for each employee, or take action that reduces weekly compensation. 
 
*SECTION 602(g)(2) PREMIUM PAY. - The term 'premium pay' means an amount of up to $13 per hour that is paid to an eligible worker, in addition to wages or remuneration the eligible worker otherwise receives, for all work performed by the eligible worker during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Such an amount may not exceed $25,000 with respect to any single worker.
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