The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has authorized a new $15 million initiative to support childcare centers throughout the county.
Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, who has spearheaded and supported numerous efforts to help businesses sustain the challenges brought forth during the pandemic, has often pointed out the barriers that inadequate childcare capacity create as we strive for full economic recovery.
“I am excited that Riverside County is launching a $15 million initiative to support childcare centers, both with infrastructure to expand and a bonus system for hiring childcare workers,” said Supervisor Perez. “Investing in early education and childcare is critical for our economy, business community, and supporting working parents and children throughout Riverside County. We appreciate our childcare centers and childcare and early education staff for the work they do and for continuing to serve.”
By a vote of 5-0 on September 14, the Riverside County Supervisors adopted the proposal to boost childcare, utilizing $15 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds the county received from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was signed into law this year.
Riverside County has launched many programs, such as rental assistance, small business grants, nonprofit grants, technology for students and farmworker protection, through the allocation of federal funds to address the needs and concerns of residents throughout the pandemic.
The $15 million Early Care & Education Recovery Fund will stabilize early childhood education providers, which have faced increased costs to remain open during the pandemic, and ultimately expand the capacity of these centers to support the return of working parents to the workforce.
The fund will be administered by First 5 Riverside County. Five million dollars will be designated for infrastructure, for licensed childcare facility projects to increase the number of early childhood education spaces. Ten million dollars will be disbursed for workforce needs, which can be used as one-time payments to recruit and retain childcare staff.
The Riverside County Board of Supervisors has previously directed CARES Act funding to support childcare centers, and Supervisor Perez, along with First 5 Riverside County, has helped distribute masks, personal protective equipment, and other supplies to providers in the Coachella Valley and Blythe community.