Are You Eligible for the $50 Billion Child Care Stabilization Fund?

*NOTE: The bill has passed been approved by the House and is currently being reviewed by the Senate.*

To provide urgently-needed financial support to the child care sector, the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations has recently passed the Child Care is Essential Act, which is providing a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund to support the child care sector and enable providers to safely reopen and operate.

In this guide, we’ll go over the main takeaways from the legislation, including:

  • What is the Child Care is Essential Act?
  • What is the Child Care Stabilization Fund?
  • What relief is your center eligible for?

If you’d like to access the full 30-page report, you can do so here; however, if you want to skip right to the main takeaways, keep reading!

What is the Child Care is Essential Act?

In order for parents to return to work and help stabilize the economy, families need a place for their children to go while parents are working. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it challenging (and in many cases impossible) for child care providers to continue operating. With already razor-thin margins in the best of times, being forced to close or operate with reduced capacity — while also requiring lower teacher/student ratios and new safety procedures — means that providers will likely not be able to survive as the pandemic continues with no end in sight soon.

To help providers get through the crisis, the House has passed the Child Care is Essential Act, which has created a $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund. This fund will help ensure that child care operators in need will get funding to help support them during these trying times.

What is the Child Care Stabilization Fund?

Within the already-established Child Care and Development Block Grant, a new $50 billion Child Care Stabilization Fund has been created, which will remain available until September 30, 2021.

What Does the Fund Cover?

Funding can be used to support the following operating costs:

  • Personnel costs, including premium pay, employee benefits, and employee salaries.
  • Sanitization and cleaning, personal protective equipment, and other necessary equipment.
  • Training and professional development related to health and safety practices.
  • Fixed costs, including mortgage obligations, rent, utilities, and insurance.
  • Mental health supports for children and employees.
  • Modifications to child care services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Other goods and services necessary to maintain or resume operation of the child care program, or to maintain the viability of the child care provider.

Calculating Funding

It is ultimately up to your state’s lead agency to determine how much finding you will receive and will be based on a number of factors.

Funding will be based on your average operating expenses in the 6 months preceding March 1, 2020, and at minimum cover such operating expenses for the intended length of the subgrant.

Increased costs of providing (or preparing to provide) child care as a result of COVID-19 — such as employee benefits and compensation, sanitization, group size limits and social distancing — will also be factored in.

Funds will be adjusted for payments or reimbursements made to carry out the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 or the Head Start Act, as well as the Paycheck Protection Program.

Are You Eligible for Funding?

Eligible Types of Child Care Providers

Grants are being provided to providers in the United States that are:

  • Child care centers
  • Home-based child care providers
  • Family child care homes

Businesses of these types must also:

  • Have been providing child care services on or before March 1, 2020.
  • On the date of submission were either open and available to provide child care services, or closed due to COVID-19.

Priority will be given to businesses who prior to or on March 1, 2020, met any of the following:

  • Provided child care during non-traditional hours.
  • Served dual language learners, children with disabilities, homeless children, children in foster care, children from low-income families, or infants and toddlers.
  • Served a high proportion of children whose families received subsidies under the Child Care and Development Block Grant of 1990.
  • Operated in communities with a low supply of child care.

Payroll Requirements

Providers are required to keep their staff on payroll and receiving the same compensation they were getting before COVID-19. If a provider wishes, funding can be used to provide premium pay to staff to reflect the additional requirements being asked of them during these times.

Improved Safety

  • Open centers: Must meet health and safety guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local authorities.
  • Closed centers: Will implement guidance from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as state and local authorities, once they reopen.

Stabilization grant funds can be used to purchase equipment and make modifications necessary to meet the guidance listed above. 

How to Apply

Funding is administered by each state’s lead agency. Each lead agency will make applications available on their website within 30 days after they have received grant funds. Check their website regularly or contact your local agency to see when they will be ready to accept applications so you can get funding as soon as possible!

Michael Keshen

Michael writes for HiMama's early childhood education blog and ECE Weekly newsletter. When not developing content for early childhood professionals, he can usually be found out and about with his wife and daughter exploring all that Toronto has to offer, or playing music with his karaoke band.


  • Kathy Tolar says:

    Is this the PPP loan? If not, can we still apply if we have received the PPP loan?

    • Michael Keshen says:

      This is different than the PPP loan and I believe you can receive both, but check with the department that oversees your licensing to double check.

  • Jacqueline Fuller Davis says:

    Hello, I am a home Childcare provider. I am very interested in the funding to help me reopen my Childcare business. I have done Childcare for over 15 years.

    • Michael Keshen says:

      As long as you meet the criteria specified in the article then you may be eligible. Check with whatever department oversees licensing in your state!

  • JoAnn Quattro says:

    Thank you – this is a very helpful breakdown of what the act provides and how to qualify. And of course it’s great news for child care providers.

    But it’s only been passed by the House. Will you provide updates as it works its way through the Senate? Should we reach out to our Senators to advocate for its passage? Do we know what its chances are in the Senate or a potential timeframe?

    Thanks for all your support.

    • Michael Keshen says:

      We will provide any updates that we receive. Reaching out to your Senators is definitely a good idea!

  • TAMMY SLADE says:


  • Sacha Lord says:

    Hi, could you provide me with my state’s “lead agency” information so I can look for the grant application? I’m in California. Thank you!

    • Michael Keshen says:

      Your lead agency will typically be whichever department oversees your center’s licensing. This will depend where in California you are located because I believe each county has its own agency.

      • Cora says:

        I just have a question about the cares act
        Our local goverment received the funds for this grant and yet we as daycarevowner have to apply for it through federal process. I wonder if this is how it works?

  • Rose Nyawira Nderitu says:

    Hi, I have been trained by himama on how to start a day care center. I am not living in the United states. Is it possible to qualify for a grant to start a day care center? Thanks

  • Precious Moments family daycare says:

    How do we find out our Agency location in North Carolina

    • Michael Keshen says:

      The lead agency is usually whatever department oversees your licensing. For North Carolina, I believe this would be the Division of Child Development and Early Education.

  • Johanna Solomon says:

    Emmanuel Educare is started in 2013 for underprivileged kids in our Community. We are now closed since Lockdown and received no funding to pay for salaries and operational costs. Please help us with funding for preparing reopen. Send us application forms via email. Thank you

  • kelley green says:

    I have been unable to find out who is the lead agency for this program here in Maryland. Do you have any idea who I should contact?

    • Michael Keshen says:

      Contact whoever oversees your licensing. For Maryland, it looks like this is the Division of Early Childhood.

  • SAVI says:

    I am in Calgary Canada. I want to poen childcare. the childcare facility should be completed in November. do I am eligible for any funding or grant to open a new CC

    • Michael Keshen says:

      The fund will only be eligible to those in the United States as it is being created by the U.S. government.

  • Teri Griffin says:

    I like more infor in how to apply for this, childcare grants.

  • Andrea says:

    Hello Dear all,

    My Name is Andrea i am very happy to learn from Himama,

    Having a Daycare is something that really want to do since i am a teacher i started in preschools and now i am in Elementary

    I am in Africa in Congo Brazzaville. I understand that it might be impossible for me ti benefit for the found to open my Daycare but please is there anyway possible for you to help me to achieve my Goals. I would like to promote English language envirronement to the Children in my country in guiding them join American Curriculum .

    From Andrea