FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 30, 2020
SAN MATEO COUNTY CHILD CARE RELIEF FUND DISTRIBUTES $2M IN GRANTS TO OVER 100 CHILD CARE PROVIDERS
SAN MATEO COUNTY – The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors allocated $2 million of CARES Act funds to the Child Care Relief Fund in July. On September 24, the San Mateo Credit Union mailed the last grant, totaling 102 grants to 73 family child care homes and 29 child care centers serving 3,345 of the most at-risk children in San Mateo County.
The program, which was administered by local nonprofit Community Equity Collaborative, provided grants to cover one month of operating expenses of up to $55,000 for child care centers and $10,000 for family child care homes that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19. Of the 29 child care centers funded, 93% provide primarily full-time care, 76% are nonprofits, 20 provide infant care and 46% of the children served receive federal/state subsidies. For the 73 family child care home providers, 100% provide full-time care, 96% serve infants, 20 participate in Quality Counts (a state initiative that supports programs committed to investing in the quality of their early learning and care), half are women-owned and 28% are immigrant-owned.
The application period took place between August 24 and September 4. During that period, 377 child care providers applied for relief funds. The applications were assessed by a review panel that included representatives from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, First 5 San Mateo County, 4C’s of San Mateo County, Build Up for San Mateo County’s Children, Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s Center for Early Learning, San Mateo County Credit Union and the Child Care Partnership Council.
This summer, the San Mateo County COVID-19 Child Care Response Team released the results of a survey indicating that 59% of family child care homes and 30% of child care centers in the county had only one month or less of operating expenses on-hand. In addition, 42% of family child care homes and 71% of centers projected a net income loss in the fall. As one applicant to the Child Care Relief Fund wrote, “After a three-month closure, our enrollment went from 10 to 4 children….we are not sure how much longer we can sustain at this rate. We have been providing daycare services to families for the last 40+ years. The financial ramifications [of] COVID19 feel impossible to overcome and we may need to close our doors.” Nationally, fewer than 6% of child care providers received PPP loans.
Early champions of this effort included Redwood City Councilwoman Giselle Hale; San Mateo City Councilwoman Amourence Lee; Co-Organizing Members of Community Equity Collaborative, Heather Hopkins and Dayna Chung; Christine Padilla of Build Up for San Mateo County’s Children, David Fleishman of 4C’s of San Mateo County and Kitty Lopez of First 5 San Mateo County. In addition, 45 county leaders and over 500 local residents signed letters of support to the Board of Supervisors. Members of this group are now seeking additional funds from local corporations, foundations and municipalities to cover $2.9M in unfunded requests from 244 providers (serving 7,132 children). The San Bruno Community Foundation has donated $100,000 to support San Bruno child care providers that did not receive the first round of grant funds.
Child care programs provide an essential safety net for working families in San Mateo County, but are themselves at high risk for permanent closure during the pandemic due to increased costs and decreased enrollment. Even before the pandemic, San Mateo County was experiencing a shortage of 23,591 child care spaces. Before the pandemic, approximately 104,712 San Mateo County residents utilized child care in order to work full time in our local hospitals, schools, grocery stores, and other workplaces, supporting the county’s economy to the tune of approximately $6.4 billion each year. Without this care (and the resulting inability of at least one parent leaving the workforce to care for her child), San Mateo County’s economic activity will decrease by about $3.6 billion.