Parents can soon expect more emergency childcare options for their school-age children, thanks to a $1.5 million state grant administered by United Way of Roanoke Valley, as part of the Ready Regions aid package.
As area families continue navigating the effects of COVID-19, many are still struggling with shifts to virtual learning, while they have fewer childcare options. The grant from the Virginia Early Childcare Foundation will foster strategic collaborations that increase the supply of safe, quality childcare slots in our region.
United Way of Roanoke Valley will focus on creating community partnerships that involve diverse sectors, including nonprofit organizations, childcare facilities and schools, workplaces, local government, health, nutrition and social services
“We’ll use the funding, distributed in two phases, to identify untapped resources and new options for increasing assistance to families, at the same time addressing the barriers that they find themselves facing,” said Vivien McMahan, Vice President of Community Impact at UWRV. “The priority is on finding solutions quickly that meet their unique needs, so we can bring some relief and support to the children and families who most need help to make it through the rest of the school year.”
$1 million in funding has been designated to support tuition costs through June 30, 2021 in the cities of Roanoke, Martinsville, Covington, Lexington and Buena Vista, and the counties of Alleghany, Botetourt, Franklin, Rockbridge and Henry. These are the areas identified by the Virginia Department of Social Services based on the number of children who receive free or reduced lunch, are without internet access, and have parents in the workforce while schools are on hybrid or virtual schedules and area childcare providers have closed.
The remaining funds will be used to support the opening of new classrooms during that same time period, in order to increase childcare capacity in the localities.