CARES funds to support child-care programs

HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i Community Foundation, together with the state Department of Human Services, announced last week the availability of up to $15 million of Hawai‘i’s federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds to support the reopening and continuous operation of licensed child-care programs across the state.

The goal of the new program, the Child Care Stimulus Grants Program, is to provide regulated child-care providers or A+ providers in Hawai‘i with one-time, flexible funding to ensure the continuity of their operations, prevent permanent closure and/or enable them to re-open their programs safely with financial resources.

The program also seeks to ensure that child-care facilities are able to meet the additional health and safety measures set by DHS for reducing risk of exposure to COVID-19 among children, families and staff.

“I’m committed to using all the federal funding Hawai‘i has received in ways that benefit the people of our state,” said Gov. David Ige. “The Child Care Stimulus Grants Program fills a major need by ensuring the health and safety of our children and their families, which is the foundation for reopening our economy.”

“Since the beginning of this pandemic DHS recognized that child care must be part of every conversation addressing essential workers, and remains a critical part of reopening and supporting the local economy,” said Cathy Betts, DHS director.

”Child-care providers are vital in giving children healthy and safe environments that promote early development while offering parents peace of mind during this extraordinarily challenging time,” said Betts. “We continue to do everything within our means to support their continued operation and success.”

“With many aspects of our lives in flux during this pandemic, we want to make certain that children and families have safe and reliable child care if they need it,” said Michelle Kauhane, senior vice president of community grants and initiatives for HCF.

“At HCF, we see this time as an opportunity to lean forward and help, and emergency grantmaking is one of our organization’s core competencies.”

The state contracted HCF to administer CARES Act emergency relief funds due to its unique and established role in Hawai‘i’s disaster preparedness and response.

The organization collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders, including elected leaders, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, community groups, philanthropists and the private sector to obtain a rapid assessment of community needs, coordinate efforts and deploy resources for maximum community impact.

From the historic floods on the North Shore of Kaua‘i to the volcano eruptions on Hawai‘i Island, and most recently with the coronavirus pandemic, HCF has demonstrated a trusted ability to deploy funds quickly and effectively to those who are meeting the critical needs of the community.

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