COVID-19 and CARES Act Updates
The maximum child care reimbursement rates for the majority of SFY 2020 were the same as the rates for SFY 2019, which reflected the greater of either the 50th percentile of the 2010 Market Rate Survey or the 25th percentile of the 2018 Market Rate Survey. DES continues to provide the tiered reimbursement incentive payment for the DES contracted child care providers that meet the state-approved quality indicator to further support enhanced quality of child care services within their programs. In April 2020, the Arizona Enrichment Centers Program (AECP) was introduced to assist frontline essential workers with their child care needs, and it provided assistance throughout the rest of the SFY 2020.
In SFY 2020, the Department had an average of 56,393 children authorized for child care each month and reimbursed child care providers a total of $229.3 million in child care assistance.
During SFY 2020, Arizona received $88 million in supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) discretionary funds to support Arizona’s child care system through the federal CARES Act. With these funds, in SFY 2020, CCA created and administered:
- $47 million in grant funds to help all regulated child care providers with operational costs to safely remain open or reopen and preserve access to child care for Arizona’s families. Incentive funding was provided for rural communities, quality providers, and new DES contracted providers.
- $24 million in support of the Arizona Enrichment Center Program that provides priority child care for children of healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers.
- $7 million to increase the number of paid absences from 2 to 5 days for DES contracted child care providers, encouraging parents to keep children home if they are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
Remaining funds will be maintained as reserve funding to address unforeseen needs as the state safely reopens.
In December 2020, the federal government passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act-2021, providing $10 billion to state, territory, and tribal CCDF lead agencies for CCDF to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19. Funding must be spent by September 2023. Arizona’s allocation is $254 million and will be utilized to continue to support families seeking child care assistance and to assure child care providers are able to remain open or reopen.
In all, the federal COVID-19 relief funding through both the CARES Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act-2021 have provided crucial support for Arizona’s economy, allowing local businesses and families to continue or return to work and helping child care providers and the child care workforce to maintain their businesses and employment.