New Jersey will allocate $250 million in funding from the federal CARES Act monies to provide additional support for families and child care providers as the school year is set to begin.
“Now more than ever, working families need access to child care to balance the many demands they are facing during the ongoing pandemic,” said Gov. Phil Murphy at a press briefing Aug. 28 in Metuchen. “With these investments, we are ensuring that high quality child care is accessible and affordable for families across the state.”
The expenditures are a part of Murphy’s revised Budget Proposal as part of the state’s spending plan for the $2.39 billion federal Coronavirus Relief Fund.
Child Care Subsidy Program
The initiative will spend money in four different buckets overseen by the Department of Human Services, according to Murphy.
The state will offer support for school-age children—age 5 to 13—through the end of the year for two programs. The first program provides child care subsidies for those participating in the state Child Care Subsidy Program, available to children in families with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level who meet program criteria.
A new $150 million program will provide child care support to New Jersey families who are not eligible for the state Child Care Subsidy Program but who are in need of either full or part-time child care due to their child’s school’s remote learning schedule. Funding for recipients of this program will be provided directly to the family’s selected licensed child care center or registered family child care and providers will be paid the state’s subsidy rate for school-age children based on the hours of care needed.
Child Care Facilities
The other two buckets give direct support to re-opening child care facilities. To support the reopening and sustainability of child care centers that make it a priority to serve children receiving the state child care subsidy, the Department of Human Services will provide supplemental payments of $75 per subsidy-eligible child, per month, including infants, toddlers, and school-age children to providers through 2020.
Additionally, funding will be made available to all licensed child care centers and all registered family child providers in New Jersey that are open or will open by Oct. 1 to manage added operational costs due to new COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
These funds will be available to nearly 6,000 child care providers in New Jersey with increased COVID-related costs, such as purchasing PPE and other supplies and materials, cleaning and sanitation, and other operational needs related to COVID-19 that are eligible expenses for the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
“We have long known that quality child care is essential to child development and economic development,” said Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson. “(We) are taking these actions to address some of the incredible burden working families are facing as work-from-home and remote learning occur at the same time. Families need relief, and we hope today’s actions offer some hope and opportunity for parents to get the support they need.”
As of Aug. 28, the cumulative number of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 190,971 with 372 new cases and nine new deaths, bringing that total to 14,150. The state probable death count remained at 1,780, bringing the overall total to 15,930.
State officials noted eight deaths occurred in the last 24 hours of reporting that have not yet been lab confirmed.
Of the total confirmed deaths in North Jersey, Essex County has the most with 1,882, followed by Bergen at 1,790, Hudson with 1,346, Passaic at 1,103, Morris at 685, Sussex at 162 and Warren with 158.
In regards to probable deaths, Bergen has 242, Essex has 229, Hudson has 160, Morris at 144, Passaic at 142, Sussex has 36 and Warren has 13.
The daily rate of infections from those tested as of Aug. 23 was 1.5%. The state is no longer using serology tests as health officials explained those results show a past presence of the disease as well as a current one.
As for the rate of transmission, it decreased to 0.77 from 0.78 the day before. Officials have continually cited transmission rate and positivity rate as health data they rely on to track how the coronavirus is being contained in New Jersey, guiding them in determining when restrictions have to be tightened or lifted.
Officials reported 436 patients are hospitalized, with the northern tier having 214 patients hospitalized, the central 93 and the south 129.
Of those hospitalized, 83 are in intensive care units and 30 on ventilators, while 34 patients were discharged.
Bergen Tops County Count
Bergen has the most cumulative cases in the state with 21,474, followed by Essex at 20,219, Hudson at 20,088, Middlesex at 18,361, Passaic at 18,249, Union at 17,040, Ocean at 11,069, Monmouth at 10,647, Camden at 9,054, Mercer at 8,303, Morris at 7,442, Burlington at 6,327, Somerset at 5,373, Atlantic at 3,707, Gloucester at 3,610, Cumberland at 3,530, Warren at 1,387, Sussex at 1,383, Hunterdon at 1,206, Salem at 975 and Cape May at 888.
Another 328 cases are still under investigation to determine where the person resides.
Long-term Care Facilities
Health officials noted 164 long-term care facilities are currently reporting at least one case of COVID-19, accounting for a total of 10,735 of the cases, broken down between 6,693 residents and 4,042 staff.
Cumulatively, 642 long-term care facilities reported a case infecting 24,773 residents and 13,229 staff, for a total of 38,002 cases.
The state’s official death total will now be reported as those that are lab confirmed, sits at 7,076 on Aug. 28. The facilities are reporting to the state 6,720 residents deaths and 121 staff deaths.