Governor Northam signs legislation to increase access to affordable early childhood care, education

Posted at 5:27 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 17:27:37-04

RICHMOND — Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation Wednesday that increases access to affordable early childhood care and education by expanding eligibility criteria for Virginia’s Child Care Subsidy Program.

"There is power in every child—and great beginnings lead to tremendous futures," Governor Northam said. "That’s why expanding access to quality early childhood care and education has been a top priority of our Administration from day one. Today, I’m proud to celebrate our latest effort to reshape Virginia’s early learning system. This bill will help get Virginians back to work, and get our children prepared for success in school and beyond."

The legislation has set new income eligibility levels to allow families with a household income of up to 85 percent of the state median income to apply if they have a child under age five, or not yet in kindergarten.

This means a single parent earning up to $60,000 a year can now access quality affordable child care options.

The legislation also establishes a new short-term eligibility category for parents seeking financial assistance for child care while they are looking for employment. Officials say this removes a major barrier for families who are struggling to get back in the workforce due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First Lady Pamela Northam and House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn joined the governor in the ceremonial signage.

“Early educators have been diligent and dedicated to keeping children safe and meeting the needs of our youngest Virginians since the early days of this public health crisis,” said Governor Northam. “As we emerge from the pandemic, the strength of our recovery will depend upon our ability to help families return to the workforce and provide quality, affordable options for early childhood care and education. These additional investments will help address the challenges child care providers are facing and ensure we can continue to deliver critical resources to those most in need now and into the future.”

Families can click here to learn more and must apply by July 31.