ARPA: New Bedford Expanding Access to High Quality Child Care

Even before the pandemic, New Bedford faced a shortage of childcare enrollment slots, particularly in high-quality facilities. In order to increase the supply of high-quality early learning, childcare, and out-of-school time care opportunities in New Bedford, Mayor Jon Mitchell released an RFP for capital costs associated with new or expanded childcare and educational facilities. Ultimately, NorthStar Learning Centers was awarded $2 million to build a new childcare facility, leverages an additional $7 million of funds raised in support of the project.

NorthStar Learning Centers, Inc. is a people-of-color-led nonprofit multi-service organization born out of the civil rights movement in New Bedford in 1974. NorthStar serves some of our city’s highest-need children and families. All but a very small number of the young children they serve are funded by state vouchers for family economic and/or child safety reasons. When completed, it will expand NorthStar’s early childhood education and care capacity will increase from 79 children to 134 children; an increase of 70%. In addition to providing childcare, NorthStar will offer a regular schedule of Parenting Education and support programs with a focus on young children

ARP: Boise ID, Provides Direct Assistance to Child Care Workers

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean approved sending nearly $2 million of the city’s ARP funds directly to childcare workers in the form of $1,500 childcare incentive checks. Providers used the money to cover everything from supplies and operations expenses to medical bills and groceries. This positively impacted 1,220 individuals who were working in Boise facilities during the pandemic, representing well over 90% of all eligible providers in the city. Additionally, the Mayor’s Office is working to reduce childcare facility and licensing times and costs. To better serve in-home providers and the families who depend on them, the city is making several process improvements that will reduce licensing time by 60 days and save providers $230 in fees.

Impact Testimony: “There was such uncertainty during the worst of COVID.  Should or would my little school remain open?  What protocols and equipment would be best to use in order to make it as safe an environment as is possible?  How would I budget for these things when it was unclear whether there would even be tuition?  There were so many variables that I considered and struggled with, it has all become such a blur.  This check for $1500 was a tremendous boost.  I know that in hindsight it has helped tremendously to cover many of the expenses that I do not normally have.  I am grateful for it and send huge thanks.“


ARP: Shreveport Announced a $5.3 Million Investment to Support Young People

Mayor Adrian Perkins announced a $5.3 million investment from American Rescue Plan funds to support young people in Shreveport — a direct result of feedback from community listening sessions. Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation will receive $3 million, the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana will receive $1.5 million, and Ronald McDonald House Charities will receive $800,000 for projects ranging from the construction of recreation facilities to providing for families with critically ill children.

ARP: Boston Announced a $7 Million Investment for City Childcare

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced a $7 million investment for city childcare. The Growing the Workforce fund will support recruiting new educators by funding internships, scholarships, and 800 certificates and degrees for individuals working in the early childhood sector. The grantees will also be offering wraparound support services for early child care workers such as apprenticeship and internship stipends, scholarships and mentorship as well as two to three years of employment after graduation. Funded by the American Rescue Plan, the grants aim to increase childcare jobs in the wake of the pandemic.

As reported by MassLive, “’This is an investment in our families, in our economy and in our future,’ Mayor Wu said during a press conference. ‘For all the working parents who had to struggle to find a center with enough staff to accommodate non-traditional working hours, for all the early childhood educators who struggled to find opportunities that recognize your value and compensate you fairly, for all of our cities children who deserve to be taught, nurtured and given the chance to become the leaders and change-makers you’re destined to be today’s announcement is for you.’”

ARP: Scranton PA, Allocated $1.5 Million to Support Child Care and Literacy Programs

Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti allocated $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan funds to support child care and literacy programs. Cognetti hopes to expand new and affordable child care options, while also addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic. $750,000 will go to K-12 catchup and assistance programs, $500,000 will go to affordable child care programs, and $250,000 will go to educational programs on literacy and financial literacy.

As reported by the The Times-Tribune, “’We thought that this would be a great place to announce this as our kids are an asset here in Scranton,’ Cognetti said. ‘This $1.5 million is to help them grow and help them catch up from what has been a really tough, tough few years for kids in school and also in the child care space.’ The grants, which will come from the city’s $68.7 million in ARPA funding, will enhance what school districts and other educational entities do, the mayor said.”

ARP: Richmond VA, Investing in Equity Agenda to help Children and Families Thrive

With an eye toward a more inclusive future, Richmond, Virginia is centering an infusion of federal funds on advancing its equity agenda. In this agenda, which the City Council passed unanimously in May 2021, equity is defined as, “empower[ing] people and communities that have experienced past injustices by removing barriers to access and opportunity.” 

Led by Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond is leveraging $155 million from the American Rescue Plan to embrace and advance the city’s commitment to equity. 

Children and Families

The city’s largest investment – $78 million – is focused on children and families. More specifically, much of the funding will go towards community centers, walking trails, and access to green spaces. In fact, the new and refurbished community centers will be within a ten minute walk of 100,000 residents who previously lacked access to such spaces so close to their homes. 

During outreach conversations, community centers were a major desire of Richmond residents. And not just buildings, but spaces that incorporate multi-generational opportunities for all residents. Places where children could play sports during the day, families could receive assistance applying for benefits, and senior citizens could learn computer skills or play Bingo in the evening. 

While looking to the future, Stoney and his team are not neglecting the difficulties some residents continue to face in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to help families with needs such as child care, food, housing costs, or transportation, the city is providing Visa gift cards to families experiencing hardships through a second iteration of the Family Crisis Fund. The direct cash infusion allows families to use the funds on what they need most. 

In order to lift up the struggling child care sector, Richmond once again turned to its equity agenda for guidance. The city will invest $1 million in the stabilization and expansion of high-quality child care programs and preschools. Of this, $500,000 will be made available to eligible nonprofit and charitable organizations through direct grants from the Office of Children and Families; an additional $500,000 will be disbursed by Smart Beginnings of Greater Richmond in order to support private businesses like family day homes that offer these services but are ineligible for grants from the city.


Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney celebrated the opening of a new child care facility, made possible by $300,000 in American Rescue Plan funds. The new center will serve children between the ages of two months and five years, giving Richmond families another option for high-quality care. Overall, Stoney has invested more than $600,000 in federal funding for new child care facilities, allowing more than 200 Richmond families to have access to affordable childcare. Mayor Stoney added, “Every Richmond family with children under 5 deserves to have access to preschool programs that meet their unique needs, including full-day, full-year programs like Sprout School.”



Stoney is also using ARP funds to renovate and improve two of the city’s public housing complexes. The city will spend $6.8 million to redevelop the 68-year-old Creighton Court public housing community, replacing 504 existing units with up to 700 new apartments and homes. This investment will greatly benefit the East End community, and continue the new construction of quality, affordable housing for over 500 families

Another $5.5 million will go towards redeveloping the Highland Grove Redevelopment Project in North Richmond. These dollars will allow for the first phase of this redevelopment – which will ultimately results in 122 new for-sale homes.

ARP: Phoenix AZ, Investing in Flexible Child Care

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is using the one-time influx of funds from the American Rescue Plan to build a stronger, more resilient Phoenix, with an eye toward responding to the community’s input and feedback. For instance,  the issue of child care came up repeatedly from both companies and city workers at the Phoenix airport. Given the 24-hour nature of business at the airport, the need for child care is not limited to traditional hours. In response to demand, Gallego’s team returned to a similar theme: Meet people where they are. They are now working to create a child care center at the airport. As plans move forward, the city of Phoenix is providing vouchers to airport employees to help cover the cost of child care.

ARP: Michigan Invests Billions to Ensuring Access to Child Care for Working Families

Through grants to child care programs, bonuses to child care professionals, and other initiatives, the State of Michigan invested $1.4 billion to expand access to quality, affordable child care for more working families. A crucial portion of the funding to ensure the child care industry can recover from pandemic hardships has come from the American Rescue Plan. 

The state approved nearly 6,000 applications for aid from child care centers programs, totaling more than $350 million. The average grant to a licensed child care center was more than $100,000. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist know that child care professionals need additional assistance too. The state is spending $30 million to provide bonuses of up to $1,000 to more than 38,000 child care workers.


Michigan recently completed its second round of grant distribution. So far, the state has awarded over $370 million to more than 5,500 child care centers, group homes, and tribal centers. Additionally, 38,000 full- and part-time child care professionals have received up to $1,000 in bonuses. Lt. Gov. Gilchrist has also helped advance the “Caring for Mi Future” plan, which will invest $100 million to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. The program is set to release its first round of grants at the end of the summer.

Building on the success of these program, Governor Whitmer announced as part of her Lowering MI Costs initiative, a new Pre-K For All program to ensure every 4-year-old in Michigan can free, public preschool education. Highlights of this new initiative include: $73 million to open additional slots to serve more kids; $103 million to help more families enroll with an outreach campaign, covering transportation, and providing year-round options; $50 million in start up grants for 2,000 new classrooms.


ARP: Columbus OH, Invests in Child Care Workers and Families


Nearly six in 10 children under the age of five participate in some form of child care. However, not all children have equal access to child care facilities. The pandemic exposed and exacerbated pre-existing inequalities. Closures during the pandemic disproportionately impacted non-White families. In April 2021, an estimated 27.5 percent of White families were exposed to child care closures. In contrast, an estimated 37.6 percent of Black families, 40.1 percent of Latino families, and 42.4 percent of Asian families were exposed to child care closures.


City Council President Shannon Hardin and President Pro Tem Elizabeth Brown, along with Mayor Andrew Ginther, will use $3.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to give bonuses to child care center workers, as well as scholarships to families. The city will put a million dollars towards an outreach campaign that includes a $1,000 signing bonus for new child care workers, helping the industry recruit and retain much-needed staffers. The remaining $2.5 million will be used for up to 250 scholarships for low-income families for child care services


The program has awarded 63 affordability scholarships, which provide families up to $10,000 to access high-quality child care centers, and provided 169 one-time $1,000 signing bonuses for new child care workers.