Child care 6

Del. child care worker registry open; $1,000 bonuses going out

Charlie Megginson Education, Headlines

Child care 6

Delaware child care workers can now enroll in a registry that will allow them to receive their $1,000 direct relief payment from the state, the Department of Education announced Friday.

Payments are available to all child care professionals who are at least 18 years of age, work in licensed Delaware child care programs, interact directly with children for at least 20 hours per week, and who have been working for at least 90 days.

The state is using $10.6 million of its federal American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for the bonuses, which the Department of Education called “a first-of-its-kind initiative to show appreciation for and incentivize retention in a critical workforce.”

Secretary of Education Mark Holodick said the pandemic highlighted just how essential child care workers are to Delaware families. 

“Many of our licensed child care programs remained open throughout the pandemic, providing critical care for children and allowing their families to continue their work in our hospitals, correctional institutions, police and fire stations and other essential jobs,” Holodick said.

The Department of Education spent recent months building a secure data collection system that will be used to collect employee information and verify eligibility. 

The application will be open for two months with all submissions due by July 29, 2022.

After being verified, licensed child care professionals can expect to receive payments within 10 days if they choose direct deposit or up to 30 days if they choose to receive a check by mail.

In Feb. 2022, Delaware LIVE News reported that three months after Gov. John Carney promised child care workers retention bonuses of up to $1,500, they still hadn’t been paid

A spokesman for Carney’s office said at the time that “the governor appreciates the dedication and sacrifices of Delaware’s child care professionals,” and “we are committed to paying child care professionals a retention bonus.”

In May, Delaware LIVE News revealed that workers would receive $1,000 payments in order to accommodate a higher-than-expected number of child care professionals in the state.

“There have been hurdles and missteps, but finally, we have a bonus program,” said Jamie Schneider, president of the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children. “While this is one-time, we hope to create a sustainable program on the way to publicly funding early care and education in the state to increase access and affordability to all families. Let me be clear – this is not enough, but it’s a start.”

“No child’s future should be determined by their parents’ ability to pay for childcare,” Schneider said. “No family should be spending 20-30% of their income on childcare. But childcare is expensive to run. The people who care for children deserve so much more.”

Licensed child care professionals can find more information and apply online at de.gov/childcarebonus.

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