August 31, 2020
TRENTON, NJ – August 31, 2020 – The Early Childhood Education Advocates (ECEA), representing New Jersey’s more than 4,100 private licensed childcare centers, voiced today its strong support for Gov. Phil Murphy’s $250 million initiative to help childcare providers and families amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has proved how vital and essential childcare centers are to every sector of the workforce in the state,” said ECEA President Guy Falzarano, who is founder and CEO of Lightbridge Academy. “The ECEA has been working tirelessly over the last few months to push for additional funding to be brought to childcare centers and we salute Gov. Murphy and the DHS and DCF Commissioners for taking a step in the right direction today.”
The ECEA has been a strong champion of childcare centers during this crisis, acting as an advocate on many fronts, spearheading the efforts to reopen all childcare and expressing the dire need for additional funding. The importance of a vibrant childcare industry cannot be overstated, especially as it relates to women and working mothers in New Jersey.
“Most impacted by the closure of childcare centers are women – whether in their capacity as center owner/operators or employees, or as mothers relying on access to quality childcare so they can pursue careers outside of the home. I was thrilled today when both Gov. Murphy and DHS Commissioner Johnson took the time to recognize that the childcare industry employs 5% of the female workforce in the State and allows many thousands of other women to go to work each day to support their families,” said Karyn Serrano Jarzyk, who, with her family, owns and operates three Kiddie Academy locations in New Jersey.
“In our efforts to support the tens of thousands of women employed in the childcare industry, and the hundred of thousands of families that rely on their services, the ECEA must recognize the valuable contributions of many of our industry partners and many officials in state government that supported our tireless advocacy and raised up our voices,” said Barbara DeMarco of Porzio Governmental Affairs, the ECEA lobbyist.
These key players include:
- The Senate Fiscal Recovery Strategists whose hearing on May 28, 2020 focused on the childcare industry, which spurred Governor Murphy’s May 30, 2020 announcement and Executive Order that childcare would reopen in July.
- The Assembly Women and Children Committee which held a hearing on June 24, 2020 concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the childcare industry.
- Michele Siekerka of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA) and Tom Bracken, President of the NJ Chamber of Commerce who have dedicated the full weight of their organizations to the efforts to reopening childcare, and by extension, the entire NJ economy.
“By helping providers and helping working families, we are one step closer to our recovery from this crisis and getting our economy back on track,” Murphy said at the event in Metuchen.
The new funding, which comes from the Federal CARES Act, H.R. 748 (116), will cover four initiatives run through the Department of Human Services. It will provide increased subsidies for children and families, as well as direct funding to childcare centers that are facing increased re-opening costs. The funds will be divided as follows:
- $50 million in restart grant funds for childcare providers who are open or will have reopened by 10/01/2020.
- A supplemental payment of $75 per subsidy-eligible child per month from September to December, totaling $30 million.
- $20 million in full time subsidies for working families making 200% federal poverty level who are subsidy eligible and require additional childcare for remote learning during the school day for COVID 19.
- $150 million in tuition assistance for families NOT currently subsidy eligible, who earn up to $75,000/year and need supervision for their school aged children the during remote school day.