Since the closure of Tulare County schools in mid-March, the Early Childhood Education Program (ECEP) has received two substantial grants to support families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. These additional funds come as the program continues to serve children learning at home through the distribution of activity packets and additional school supplies.
As directed by the California Department of Education, TCOE ECEP is working diligently to be the “matchmaker” between parents who are essential workers and child care providers who are operating. The state provided nearly $800,000 in additional funds to ECEP to help pay for child care for essential workers. The state also suspended the typical income requirements so that these families would be eligible for this support. “Parents who are essential workers are encouraged to email their contact information to [email protected],” said Dr. Alex Elliott, ECEP administrator. “Our staff will reach out to share information on open providers in their area.”
The state also provided $50 million to Resource & Referral Programs throughout California. The support provides Cleaning and Supplies for Childcare Providers (CSCP). Locally, the Tulare County Resource & Referral Program will allocate CSCP funds to open or soon-to-be-open providers operating childcare or early learning and care programs (ELC) for children of essential workers, at-risk populations, and children with disabilities or special health needs that receive ELC services as part of their individualized education plan or individualized family service plan. “This funding is critical to operating child care providers who are struggling to find the basic supplies they need,” said Dr. Elliott.
In addition to funds received to support families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, ECEP received a third grant from the Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program. This exciting $1.14 million grant will be used to completely renovate the program’s Fairview Center in Visalia. Included in the renovation is the installation of adaptive equipment for children and professional development training for all education staff regarding inclusive outdoor learning environments.