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State moves to next phase of reopening child care

July 11th, 2020 by WCBC Radio

The state moved Friday to reopen more child care programs. WBAL reports the Maryland State Department of Education is transitioning away from the unlicensed reopening of qualified facilities to only authorizing licensed child care and paying into the Child Care Scholarship program based on attendance rather than enrollment.

“We are incredibly grateful to our educators, parents and community partners for all of their outstanding efforts to provide essential persons and other parents and guardians with access to child care in these unprecedented extraordinary times,” Superintendent Karen B. Salmon said in a statement. “As we move forward, we will be upholding our rigorous licensing standards to ensure the health and safety of children."

Thus far, more than 5,300 licensed child care providers have reopened.

Starting July 20, any remaining approved sites serving children of essential employees will have to close unless they obtain a state license. Unlicensed care by family or friends will no longer be allowed unless the provider is a relative of each child or is a friend of each child's parent and the care is provided on a basis of less than 20 hours a month.

Also starting July 20, the MSDE will make payments for Child Care Scholarship invoices to all providers serving participating families based on attendance, rather than enrollment. Parents will have to pay co-pays unless the parent has requested the suspension of child care services or the provider has not reopened.

The startup grants for new child care providers have been doubled from $500 to $1,000.

Group sizes in child care centers are now capped at 15 with no more than one teacher for 14 children 3 and older.

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