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Dear Child Care Provider, 

Governor Polis called a special session of the state legislature this month to address the specific challenges posed by COVID-19. Child care was recognized as one of the sectors most at risk as well as one that is critical to the survival of most other sectors in the state.  

Out of this recognition, HB20B-1002 created two grant programs to support child care providers across the state: the first of which is being called the Child Care Relief Grant program and the second, the Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant Program. The legislation provides $45 million in General Fund to support licensed child care in sustaining and expanding their businesses. The bill was passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor on December 7th.

This letter will go into detail about the first of the two programs, the Child Care Relief Grant (CCRG) program for the sustainability of child care. Please note, this grant program is new and separate from the federally-funded CARES Act sustainability grants distributed earlier this year. Stay tuned for additional detail on the Emerging and Expanding Child Care Grant program and application process in mid-January.

Navigate this email by scrolling to view the content below or by clicking on these links to navigate to each section: 
Child Care Relief Grant (CCRG) Overview:

The CCRG will be distributed to all eligible providers who complete the application process by the prescribed deadlines. The maximum grant awards will be determined through a formula based primarily on the provider’s licensed capacity (this is the maximum number of children a provider is allowed to serve under your license based on what is on file with the Department) and will take into consideration provider’s Quality Rating within Colorado Shines.

Grants must be no less than $500 and no more than $35,000 per provider site. The Department will distribute approximately $35 million to providers across the state through the CCRG. The grants are not competitive and the application process will take approximately one hour total of a provider’s time, between all three steps.  In order to quickly distribute the funds, the CCRG program will only operate for approximately 10 weeks and the application and payment deadlines must be met.  

The last date to start the application process through the Child Care Status Portal is January 15, 2021. This date is set so that the Department can ensure all payments are made to eligible providers by February 28, 2021, which is the statutory deadline.
Child Care Relief Grant (CCRG) Eligibility:

Licensed Child Care providers means those holding a Child Care Center, School-age Child Care, Family Child Care Home or Preschool license.

If your facility is a Neighborhood Youth Organization (NYO) but also holds a child care license, you are eligible for formula funding. If your facility is considered a NYO, you are eligible for a portion of the funding. 

Open and Operating by February 28, 2021: Only licensed child care providers that are open and operating are eligible for the CCRG.  
  • “Open” means the provider holds an open child care license and is not in the revocation process. Programs on probation are still eligible for the funding.
     
  • “Operating” means the provider is actively providing in-person care and education to children. All eligible providers must be providing in-person care and education by February 28th. Providing virtual services is not considered “open and operating” for the purposes of this grant program.
Child Care Relief Grant (CCRG) Application Process (3-Step Process):

Step One:  Update Child Care Status Portal by January 15, 2021

Update your program’s information and operational status in the Child Care Status Portal with Child Care Licensing. You can access the link to the Status Portal HERE or visit the Colorado Office of Early Childhood home page and click on the purple banner. This is NOT part of the licensing application process. Because the legislation requires the Department to disburse monies before the end of February, this step MUST be done by January 15 in order for your program to be considered eligible.

The Status Portal provides valuable information on each individual child care site, including enrollment information, staff vacancies and other technical assistance needs. Therefore each licensed program must be updated individually, even if the license is under a larger governing body with multiple sites. 

Providers log on with their license number to get started. If you updated your status prior to November 1, it is advisable to go back into the system and ensure all information is correct.

Planned reopening date: If you are currently closed or offering virtual instruction, you may now report your planned reopening date within the Status Portal. As long as your information is updated by January 15, 2021, and your reopening date is prior to February 28, 2021, your program will be eligible for the CCRG.

Please see screenshots at the end of this email for instructions on the Status Portal.

Step Two: Complete the Provider Rate Survey

In order to better understand the impact of COVID-19 on the child care market, the Department is collecting provider rates and fee information from all licensed providers.  

This information is invaluable and we greatly appreciate your cooperation in painting an accurate picture of what is happening across the state.  All rate information collected will be aggregated and will not be tied to an individual site or provider.  Once your information is updated in the Status Portal, you will receive a short survey on your current child care rates. This survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Step Three: Submit the Affirmation Form and Banking Information

Once you are determined eligible, you must complete and submit an electronic certification that acknowledges you meet the criteria and have read and accept the allowed uses and reporting requirements of the CCRG funds. When you submit this affirmation, you will also submit an ACH form that will allow the CCRG funds to be transferred to your bank account by our payment processing partner, MetrixIQ. 

If you have multiple sites/licenses, you must complete separate forms for each license. MetrixIQ will begin sending the forms to providers as soon as eligibility is confirmed. We strongly encourage you to complete the forms as soon as possible for timely payment. The last date to return these forms will be February 17, 2021.

Please monitor your email inbox for an AdobeSign email from “Child Care Relief Grants (CCRG)” via echosign@echosign.com. This email will come to the email address provided through the Child Care Status Portal.  

The subject line of this email will be: Signature Requested on “Child Care Relief Grants Certification for [your site name]”. You can expect this email to arrive approximately one to two weeks after you update your information in the Status Portal. Please be sure to check your junk/spam folder if you don’t see this email arrive in a timely manner.
 
Important Deadlines:
  • January 15, 2021 -- Deadline to update information in Child Care Provider Status Portal
     
  • January 18, 2021 -- Department will determine the total number of eligible providers and maximum award amounts per provider
     
  • January 20, 2021 -- Payment to providers who have completed all application steps begin
     
  • February 17, 2021 -- Deadline to complete grant certification and banking forms
     
  • February 28, 2021 -- last date the Department may distribute grant money to providers 
Questions:  If you have questions related to the application process, please email us at cdhs_oec_communications@state.co.us and use “CCRG” in the title.

Thank you for your commitment to serving children and families during this difficult time! 
 
Two new fields are dependent on the Operating Status field. When this field is marked as “Closed” the ‘Do you plan to reopen soon?’ field displays.

 If “Yes” is answered, then the ‘Estimated Re-opening Date’ field is displayed to capture the date when the facility is planning to reopen.
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