VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginians who need help with child care will be able to take advantage of Virginia’s expanded Child Care Subsidy Program through the end of 2021.
The program was expanded this year for parents looking for employment and those with a child under age five, or not yet in kindergarten, with a household income of 85 percent of the state median income or below (Under 64K — Virginia’s median household income was $74,222 as of the latest census data).
The expanded eligibility was supposed to run through July 31, but Governor Ralph Northam directed the Virginia Department of Education to use existing federal funding to cover co-payments through December 31, 2021, Northam’s office said in a press release. 1,000-plus additional families in the commonwealth were receiving child care assistance through the expanded program as of July 1, 2021.
Northam’s office says the expansion, which came via House Bill 2206 sponsored by House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, doubled the previous income threshold in many regions of Virginia.
Virginia first lady Pam Northam was in Hampton Roads on Wednesday to kick off a Child Care Access Month of Action raising awareness about the resources.
“Our team has visited programs in every region of the Commonwealth this year and the benefits of in-person instruction for our littlest learners are clear,” Pam Northam said. “Virginia’s early educators are truly superheroes, and we want to ensure all families have access to these vital programs.”
The program expansion not only seeks to help families, but child care providers having financial difficulties and other challenges such as staffing.
“Access to high-quality child care is not only critical to the health and safety of Virginia’s children, but it is also important for advancing a strong, equitable recovery,” Gov. Northam said. “Extending these resources through the end of 2021 will help close the affordability gap for parents and providers, allowing thousands of Virginians to return to work, support their families, and grow our economy.”
It comes as President Biden promotes proposed investments in families and education, including two years of free community college, universal prekindergarten and paid family and medical leave.
For more information about child care assistance in Virginia or to apply for the Child Care Subsidy Program, visit ChildCareVA.com.