RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney provided an update on the city’s emergency childcare initiative Wednesday afternoon.
In August, the mayor announced that $3 million in CARES Act funding would be used for childcare support for RPS students.
Last week, Stoney announced five sites that would be providing care for Richmond Public Schools students. Today, Stoney says they are full and already have waitlists.
“Need is demonstrably high,” Stoney said. “The sooner Richmond Public Schools enter in an agreement with childcare providers to use RPS facilities, the sooner these families will have access to this critical care.”
The mayor says he will be sending a letter to the school board later this week asking them to follow through on their agreement with the city.
“To be clear, we are not asking them to assume any additional liability or to run the programs,” Stoney said.
Stoney said they are asking RPS to use the same approach to after school programming for full-day child care.
“Setting up centers in schools allows us to serve more kids,” Stoney said.
Stoney said this will in turn allow them to support more childcare providers around the city.
“This to me is the fastest, most efficent way to get kids into childcare safely,” Stoney said.
To make childcare more accessible, the city says they recognize they must provide support to existing childcare providers.
During the press conference, Stoney announced his administration would allocate $1 million of CARES Act funding to support neighborhood-based childcare providers.
Stoney said this would be beneficial for parents who might already have a childcare provider nearby.
In order to apply for this funding, the city will need to have a provider’s liability insurance, operating plans and more to ensure that they can serve more kids and get public funds to do so, Stoney said.
The application to receive this funding will open on Friday and the city plans to send more information closer to that date.