While the recent news from the Governor’s office that there would be grants available for childcare centers, particularly bonuses for workers, was exciting, there’s some work to do. Employees and employers will have to team up to file the proper paperwork to ensure that they get the money from the state that they’re entitled to.
Don’t fret; we have all the most current information you need to ensure you’ve done everything necessary to get the cash you and your employees are entitled to.
With that, let’s get into the details.
How Do I Apply for NJ Childcare Grants?
The first thing required of both employers and employees is to head over to the NJ Childcare Information System to create or update accounts. All approval of business grants and employee bonuses will happen through accounts created on this website.
While the actual grant application process isn’t yet finalized, the state is providing information on the application process via a web seminar. The seminars will be available for viewing on the NJ state childcare website along with other pertinent information to the grant process shortly.
True to Trenton traditions, no specific date has been provided for when this information will be posted.
Instructions for Setting Up Accounts for Employee Bonuses
The state was very helpful in creating step-by-step guides for both employers and employees, so there should be no issues in getting through the process of creating accounts. Keep in mind that with the creation of these accounts, employers must approve the information submitted by their employees to make employees eligible for the $1,000 bonuses this Winter and next Summer.
Make it absolutely clear to employees (or employers) that they need to finalize everything on the platform to get their bonuses. This is not the type of signup that can be done by oneself, and employees can’t rely on their employers to complete the process for them.
Don’t delay on this, do it now. If you’re a provider/employer, make sure you press your employees to get signed up as soon as possible, so there’s no chance they miss out. I say this due to the high frequency of government platforms crashing when they’re flooded with users trying to sign up on the last day. Who can forget the crash of Healthcare.gov on its very first day of operation?
I’m not saying this will happen; I’m just suggesting that stress can be avoided by making accounts now; Even if it means pushing employees to do something that’s already in their best interest.
Where is This Money Coming From?
The money for the childcare grants and bonuses came from the American Rescue Plan and was announced by Senators Booker and Menendez back in April. It has certainly taken a bit for the money to materialize, and it appears the state is almost there. The grants will be issued from the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Family Development (DFD).
Information For Providers at the Federal Level
While the funds are now in the hands of the state government, this federal page gives a great overview of the program, its intended goals, and how it came into being. This page, in particular, offers some specifics that haven’t been provided at the state level.
These specifics can give a better idea of what information will be required and even strategies for using the grant money effectively. That second part probably isn’t really necessary, as most business owners have a good idea of what they would do with an extra chunk of cash, but it never hurts to learn something new!
Remind Me, What Can I Get From This Grant Program?
For licensed childcare providers, grants that award between $20,000 – $80,000 are available. Keep in mind that this is simply for the first round of grants, and a second round of grants will be available at some point in the future.
As discussed at the beginning of this post, employees are eligible for two $1,000 bonus payments as new or continuing employees.
Lastly, providers who operate childcare centers from their homes can apply for $2,000 grants.
Overview of NJ Childcare Grant Application Process
While the childcare grant process is proceeding slowly, it is moving forward. The most recent information provided by the state allows both employers and employees to create and update accounts on the state platform that will enable employees to get their bonuses. Information about how employers can start the application process will be available on the state website soon.