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News

NJ Officials: Emergency Child Care Assistance for Essential Employees Extended Through May

“We thank child care workers for their hard work and commitment, which is proving more valuable than ever during this critical period."
“We thank child care workers for their hard work and commitment, which is proving more valuable than ever during this critical period." Photo Credit: Pixabay

New Jersey will continue to provide emergency child care assistance to essential employees through at least the end of May, state authorities announced Tuesday.

That includes those who work at grocery stores or gas stations, as well as child care workers themselves.

“We value the amazing efforts of all of the essential workers who are helping New Jersey through this challenging and unprecedented time, and we want to make sure they continue to have the child care resources they need,” Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson said. 

The amounts paid per child:

  • infant, $450.35;
  • toddler, $415.70;
  • preschooler, $415.70;
  • school-aged, $336.00.

“Thousands of essential workers’ families are accessing safe and affordable emergency child care while they serve their state or community in vital roles during COVID-19,” Children and Families Commissioner Christine Beyer said. “Their work is crucial to New Jersey’s COVID-19 response and will be key to our recovery."

A directive issued by Gov. Phil Murphy when New Jersey's coronavirus state of emergency began ordered child care centers closed except for those on federal property or military bases, family-based centers caring for five or fewer children and any centers that register to exclusively provide emergency child care services to essential personnel.

Following a registration process, more than 500 childcare agencies statewide have been certified to provide emergency child care services, officials said.

Families choosing a child care center with higher rates will need to pay the balance directly to the provider, but such rates cannot exceed up to a limit of 110% of the rate the center charged in February 2020, they said.

Essential employees who want to utilize emergency care services must complete an online registration form available at www.childcarenj.gov.

State-supported, county-based child care resource and referral agencies will reach out to those who register to assist with enrollment and placement, officials said.

Executive Order 110 defines ‘essential’ workers as:

· Health care workers, including staff working in health care facilities and in community-based services including home health and behavioral health;

· Law enforcement personnel, fire and emergency services personnel, and correctional facility staff;

· Individuals employed at emergency child care centers operating on or after April 1, 2020;

· Staff working for entities that provide essential social services, including, but not limited to, group home and shelter staff;

· Essential government employees who are unable to work from home, including child protection services workers, child welfare workers, foster care workers, unemployment compensation processing staff, and public health employees; and,

· Certain critical workers, as defined by the Commissioner of DCF, at essential retail businesses, as defined in Executive Order No. 107 (2020) and subsequent Administrative Orders, which includes, for example, grocery store and gas station employees.

The benefit could be extended past May depending on circumstances, state officials said.

“We thank child care workers for their hard work and commitment, which is proving more valuable than ever during this critical period," Johnson said."DCF salutes their service and will work closely with DHS to support the continued availability of emergency child care," Beyer added.

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