Harkins, Merski: More than $1 million to help Erie child care providers safely reopen

HARRISBURG, May 20 – Erie County child care providers will receive more than $1 million in federal CARES Act funding to help them safely reopen their doors, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the funding will ensure these businesses are able to resume operations while providing the safest possible environment. 

“As residents return to work and the economy reopens, it’s critical for families to be able to rely on good child care,” Merski said. “But it’s equally important for parents to have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their children are returning to a safe, sanitary environment. This funding is going to help providers restore services, while also providing new protections.”

Harkins said, “Our child care providers are so much more than a place for parents to bring their children for safekeeping. They stimulate our kids’ minds and provide a place for early learning and first friendships. That said, safety is still priority No. 1, and the pandemic has created a brand-new set of challenges. Thanks to this funding, our providers will have the resources needed to meet those challenges.”

The funding is part of an initial $51 million round of funding that will go to nearly 7,000 child care centers statewide preparing to reopen.

In all, Pennsylvania will receive a total of $106 million in funding to support child care providers. The second round of funding will be allocated after completion of a study assessing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Pennsylvania’s child care providers.

Eligibility for and amount of funding was determined based on the type and size of the provider, the number of active enrollments in Child Care Works subsidized child care, child care capacity and licensure status.

More information about the funding is available here.