Dutchess County announced today a partnership with the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc. to implement a childcare scholarship fund to allow parents the ability to work, look for work, or attend college. The intent of this scholarship program is to fill the gap between the number of days students will be physically in school and those days where students are not physically in school.

Funding for this scholarship program was made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to the county for distribution through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to prevent, prepare for, or respond to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Child Care Council has been inundated with calls from families with school-aged children – typically, families call looking for childcare,” said Jeanne Wagner, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam in a Dutchess County press release. “Now, with children not going back to school, families are calling to find childcare and to ask for assistance with the cost of the care. This funding will go a long way in helping to fulfill the need that will exist this school year.”

Scholarships will be awarded beginning Oct. 1, 2020 through the end of the academic calendar year by a random selection process to eligible families with school-aged children. This Childcare Relief Scholarship Fund will cover 75 percent of the tuition for each child, paid directly to the childcare facility. Families will be responsible for 25 percent of the tuition.

All Dutchess County regulated childcare providers are eligible to participate. Families with children who have special needs will be prioritized.

Families are encouraged to consider their available resources and other potential sources of support to request the minimal number of days needed to ensure this funding can reach as many families as possible.

According to the county’s press release, eligible families must meet the following criteria:

  • Household income must not exceed 80 percent of the county’s median income limits as illustrated in the below chart.
  • Families with school-aged children eligible for acceptance into a regulated childcare facility are eligible to apply.
  • Children with special needs will receive a preference.
  • Families must live in Dutchess County, excluding the City of Poughkeepsie. The City received its own CDBG-CV funds, so its residents are not eligible for county CDBG funds under federal regulations.
  • Parent(s) or guardian(s) must be working, looking for work or in school to be eligible, unless there are extenuating circumstances and a demonstrated COVID-related need for childcare despite not meeting this criterion.
  • The child is not receiving any other childcare subsidy or scholarships, such as a Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) subsidy or Dyson Scholarship. If eligible for a subsidy from the DCFS, applicants must apply for funding from that program.
  • The facility must be a regulated childcare facility in Dutchess County.

Complete Program Guidance and Application Instructions can be found here.

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