Child care centers received their last checks from pandemic-era federal funding on Saturday, Sept. 30.
The funds, as part of the American Rescue Plan, stabilized the cost of child care in Georgia and allowed child care centers to hire more staff and raise salaries. The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning (DECAL) said it has sent $1.9 billion to child care centers through the funds.
In a survey conducted by the Georgia nonprofit Quality Care for Children, over 80% of the state’s child care providers surveyed say they may have to raise costs. About a quarter of centers surveyed said they are concerned they may have to close their doors.
CEO Ellyn Cochran said increased costs can affect everyone, even if the effects aren’t immediate.
“This is going to be an impact for families, but it’s also going to be an impact for all of us. Because if your teachers, if your nurses, if your employees don’t have a place to put their children, it’s going to impact all of us in Georgia,” she said.
DECAL and Quality Care for children say they are focused on helping providers develop their business model to avoid closure.
Child care centers have until June to spend the last ARP check.
This article comes to Now Habersham through a partnership with GPB News