Help is finally on the way for Kentucky’s struggling child care sector. We know that it continues to be a rough environment for child care providers  and their employees — similar to other small businesses that rely on face-to-face interaction. The struggles of the pandemic continue to impact child care as much as, or perhaps even more than, ever before.

In late December 2020 the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed into law a $908 billion COVID-19 emergency relief package, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), that included an investment of $10 billion for America’s battered child care sector. Just last week Kentucky received $195.5 million in child care aid from the federal government! 

Here is how those dollars will be used to help our child care entrepreneurs, essential workers, working families and their children, and our communities at-large

  • $165 million is dedicated to sustainment payment funding for regulated child care providers (licensed, certified, and registered providers). 
    • All payments to licensed and certified child care providers will be based on capacity.  All payments to registered child care providers will be based on enrollment.
    • The first payment will be $300/per child, and the following three payments will be $260/child and follow in two month intervals.
    • In order to qualify for the sustainment payments, the child care provider must be in the DRCC database by January 1, 2021 to qualify for the sustainment funding.  Those in temporary closure up to January 1, 2021 are still eligible. 
    • The completed contract must be signed and returned to the Division of Child Care by February 28, 2021.
    • Child care providers must spend funds by June 30, 2022.
    • The contract for payments will be cross-referenced against the DRCC database before each subsequent payment to make sure that the child care program is still open.
    • Child care programs that are voluntarily operating virtually will not qualify for the funding.  In order to receive the funding, child care programs must be offering face-to-face child care.  The only exception is if the local health department temporarily requires the child care program to close in order to quarantine staff and children that have been exposed to COVID-19.
    • Child care programs shall use portions of this funding for staff salaries. This may include salary increases or hazard pay for providers working during the KY State of Emergency.
    • Funding can also be used for fixed expenses (like rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance premiums, PPE, cleaning supplies, and food).
    • Child care programs must keep receipts on site for five years in the event of audit.
  • $3 million to KARES background check system to pay for fingerprint background checks for child care providers once the fingerprint sites re-open.
  • $4.5 million in training and technical assistance:
    • $3,000,000 will be dedicated to CPR, First Aid, EpiPen, and Blood Borne Pathogen training for child care providers throughout the state. The Division of Child Care will utilize “approved training agencies” as stated in 922 KAR 2:240. Mini-grants will be awarded to “approved training agencies” to pay for the trainers as well as certification for child care providers.
    • $1,500,000 will be dedicated to resiliency and trauma-informed care training.  The Division of Child Care will contract with the Early Childhood Mental Health Specialists in the Department of Public Health. The ECMHS team will utilize “provider cafes” in a virtual setting to help child care providers debrief on their own trauma throughout the pandemic.  The ECMHS team will also provide training to child care providers on how to support children who are experiencing trauma. 
  • $20 million dedicated to paying parent co-pays for children in the Child Care Assistance Program beginning February 1, 2021 and lasting as long as funding allows.

Along with the federal aid funding, DCC will also be putting some additional supports into place for child care providers:

  • The Division of Child Care can extend CCAP payment on “enrollment vs attendance” for January through March 2021 in order to assist programs that have had limited capacity during the pandemic. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services will re-evaluate on a quarterly basis to review the availability of funding.
  • DCC asks that providers notify families that they will not be responsible for CCAP co-pays per February 1, 2021. 
  • Child care providers can begin billing based on enrollment when they bill the Division of Child Care for the month of January.

Family Child Care Network:

The Division of Child Care will establish a permanent Family Child Care Network with a regional office in each of the 8 DCC regions across the state.  These regional offices will be local training and support agencies that are already established in the child care community.  They will be selected through the DCC contract vendor.

Each regional family child care network will be responsible for these objectives:

  • Being the liaison between community businesses and child care programs attempting to establish the child care network model as an employee benefit for the business.
  • Supporting family child care homes with business needs like tuition billing, compliance with the Child and Adult Federal Food Program, and tax preparation.
  • Technical assistance for registered providers in the provider’s home or in the home of the family.
  • Recruitment of registered child care providers, including outreach to Kinship Care and Fictive Kin providers to become part of the registered provider system.
  • Recruitment of certified child care homes.
  • Technical assistance for certified family child care homes in the provider’s home.
  • Creating training specifically targeted at family child care providers.
  • Providing networking opportunities and resources for family child care homes.

These additional supports should help provide necessary child care for families throughout the Commonwealth and give additional financial resources to child care programs in order to best serve Kentucky families.

Here is what child care providers must do to receive the support outlined above: 

Child care providers will receive a contract via email from the Kentucky Division of Child Care’s listserv.  Providers are responsible for reading the contract thoroughly to ensure that they meet all requirements for receiving emergency aid dollars. Providers may easily sign the contract electronically via DocUSign before submitting their agreement to the Division of Child Care.  

An important note: Per the Kentucky Division of Child Care, both CARES and CRRSA aid dollars are taxable income under federal law. However, if your center operated under a net loss last year, it is expected that this tax may be minimal. Please contact your CPA or professional financial advisor for more information and guidance! Also remember to keep your center’s records on how CARES and CRRSA funds are spent for at least the next decade.

Please note that all contracts must be signed by March 10, 2021. 

If the Division of Child Care has not heard from your center prior to March 10th, representatives from Child Care Aware may contact you.  

For additional information, please reference this powerpoint from the Kentucky Division of Child Care.  For questions regarding CCAP please email For general questions please email