Total Funding For Phase 1 now totals $75 million as NJEDA hits milestone of first $5 million in approved grants

TRENTON, N.J. (May 12, 2023) – The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board on Wednesday approved allocating an additional $50 million for grants for Phase 1 of its Child Care Facilities Improvement Program, increasing the total funding to nearly $75 million.

Since launching in November 2022 with an initial pool of $24.5 million in funding, the NJEDA has received more than 450 applications from child care centers that serve over 36,000 children and employ nearly 9,000 members of the vital early childhood workforce. This additional funding brings the total resources available to nearly $75 million, which will help meet the overwhelming interest and demand for Phase 1 of the Child Care Facilities Improvement Program.

As part of New Jersey’s whole-of-government approach to supporting the child care sector, the legislature passed, and Governor Phil Murphy signed, the Child Care Revitalization Fund into law in 2021. Phase 1 of this program was initially funded with $20 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (CSLFRF) and an additional $4.45 million in state funds. The NJEDA Board on Wednesday approved usage of another $50 million in ARP CSLFRF funds from the fiscal year 2022 and 2023 budgets. In addition to this substantial pool of funding, NJEDA has more than $10 million in funding for future program phases, which will include a grant program for family child care homes.

“The fact that this additional funding enhances a program specifically designed to help child care providers elevate their ability to care for New Jersey’s children both now and in the future is a win-win for our state,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Through Nurture NJ, we are committed to making the Garden State the national gold-standard for infant and child health and that starts with ensuring providers have the resources they need to provide our state’s children – particularly those in underserved communities – with high-quality early childhood environments.”

To date, the NJEDA has approved 31 applications from child care centers for a combined $5.7 million in funding through Phase 1 of the program and expects to approve many more applications in the coming weeks and months. Improvements made through this first round of grants will impact the learning and development of more than 2,500 children and improve the health and safety of work environments for over 600 teachers and administrators.

“Reliable and quality child care services are vital to New Jersey’s economic infrastructure, however, too often child care providers forgo making necessary investments in facility upgrades due to razor-thin profit margins,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Under Governor Phil Murphy’s and First Lady Tammy Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is making significant investments into this critically important sector, ensuring that every child and working family has access to reliable, safe, and affordable child care. Through the funding announced today, the NJEDA will fund critically important improvement projects at child care facilities across our state, helping centers keep their lights on, doors open, and staff employed, all while increasing access to high-quality learning environments for their students.”

Sullivan noted that the New Jersey departments of Children and Families (NJDCF) and Human Services (NJDHS) have been integral partners in the NJEDA’s efforts surrounding bolstering the child care sector, and particularly around the creation of the Child Care Facilities Improvement Program.

“Our administration continues to prioritize investments to strengthen New Jersey’s child care industry,” said NJDHS Commissioner Sarah Adelman. “We appreciate the work that our partners at the NJEDA are doing to support providers through these capital improvement grants. Child care providers are essential to working families and the economy. These efforts will increase access to high quality child care for working families and provide children with a strong educational foundation.”

“Child care centers are a vital part of our infrastructure to support families and grow healthy children. Access to high-quality, affordable child care is a necessity for families in every corner of the state,” said NJDCF Commissioner Christine Norbut Beyer. “Through support from the NJEDA, we can help child care operators build and maintain state-of-the-art facilities to meet the needs of families throughout the state. I applaud our colleagues at the NJEDA for their forward-thinking investment in child care in New Jersey and look forward to working with my colleagues across state government agencies and departments to support the critical child care business sector.”

Sullivan also thanked members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation and state legislators for their commitment to ensuring the NJEDA has the resources needed to bolster this indispensable sector.

“As families and our economy continue to face a child care crisis, I commend the NJEDA’s work to ensure that child care providers statewide have the tools they need to provide the youngest New Jerseyans with access to safe, reliable and high-quality child care. Child care providers are the unsung heroes for many families and the often unacknowledged linchpin of our economy. I fought hard to secure these American Rescue Plan funds and am thrilled that they are being reinvested into our New Jersey economy in this way,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11). “This funding will help parents get back to work, businesses address their labor shortages, and providers keep their doors open and maintain high quality care. I will continue to fight hard in Washington with my Child Care for Every Community Act to get families the support they need.”

“Access to quality, affordable child care is essential for working families across New Jersey and the Eighth Congressional District,” said Congressman Rob Menendez (NJ-08),a founding member of the Congressional Dads Caucus. “The NJEDA is right to recognize that supporting our families means supporting the child care centers and early childhood workforce that provide New Jerseyans with good options for child care. I am pleased to see that under President Biden’s leadership, the American Rescue Plan continues to deliver positive impacts to communities in New Jersey – including through this $50 million in grant funding.”

“There’s nothing more important to me than my kids’ health and safety, and I know each and every parent feels the same way about their kids,” said Congressman Andy Kim (NJ-03). “I’m glad to see New Jersey stepping up with better support for childcare service organizations so we can support working parents and ensure their kids are getting the educational support and enrichment they need to succeed.”

“When we offer our children learning environments that are healthy, safe and flexible to adapt to complex student needs, the rewards far exceed the cost of the initial investment,” said Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex), who co-sponsored the Child Care Revitalization Fund, which provides funding for the Child Care Facilities Improvement Program. “By lessening the financial burden on child care providers, these funds will facilitate the expansion of classroom space as well as allow for the purchasing of other critical infrastructure needs such as replacing windows and/or flooring or even playground equipment. This program, along with other initiatives moving through the legislature, represents a commitment to improving early childhood education.”

“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, the NJEDA is focused on connecting child care providers with financial means to make necessary upgrades to their facilities,” NJEDA Executive Vice President of Economic Security Tara Colton said. “A child’s zip code should never dictate their access to high-quality child care. Thanks to programs and initiatives put in place by Governor Murphy, First Lady Murphy, and the New Jersey Legislature, we are working to ensure that it never does.”

Article Courtesy of the NJEDA