The Connecticut Early Childcare Child Facilities and Renovation and Construction Grant Project is getting ready to distribute approximately 13 million dollars of ARPA funding to early childhood programs across the state. The grant funds may be used for construction, renovation, and quality improvement projects in early childcare programs. The focus of the grant is to increase early care capacity, especially infant/toddler care, in childcare deserts, and areas of great need. The Office of Early Childhood is the state agency of cognizance.
This project is in response to the lack of capacity of early care and education availability in Connecticut, with an estimated shortage of up to 13,000 infant and toddler “slots.” Much of Connecticut is designated an infant and toddler “childcare desert”.
The Facilities Fund project has three priorities:
- To increase infant and toddler early care capacity in infant/toddler childcare deserts
- To increase pre-school capacity in areas where there is not enough pre-school capacity.
- To improve early care environments, and to address the health and safety needs of young children, including projects such as upgrading ventilation systems, heating, and cooling systems, improving outdoor play spaces, and through the purchase of furniture, and/or equipment,
Grant funding will be directed to projects that are in hard to serve areas of the state reaching economically vulnerable populations. A landscape analysis and the CT Social Vulnerability Scale will be used to inform the application process and help to prioritize programs.
All types of providers are encouraged to apply, including providers who are center-based, and those who operate family home childcare, group home childcare, and family childcare incubator projects. Licensed Exempt programs that receive funding from the public-school systems are not eligible for this funding.
Applicants can operate an existing early care business or be in the process of establishing a new early care business. Family home projects that want to become group homes are eligible as are group homes interested in becoming small centers. Programs may be a non-profit or for-profit business.
- STEP 1.) Learn about the grant by attending a webinar, or through your licensing specialist. Application information and directions will be released in the beginning of October 2023, allowing applicants to work on responses, and collect the necessary documents, ahead of the application launch on November 6, 2023. The application will be open until December 4, 2023.
- STEP 2.) Applicants will be able to complete the application before being required to upload most of the required financial documents. Submission Guidance: It is recommended that before completing and submitting the online form, applicants read the application directions! The directions explain how to save the answers to work on the application later. This will ensure that responses are saved, until ready to submit the completed application.
- STEP 3.) The grant review process will begin as the applications are submitted. Then, applicants may be asked to submit additional financial or other documents. LISC personnel and advisory partners will score applications, using a rubric which reflects the goals of the grant program.
- STEP 4.) Once the applications are reviewed, they will be saved until December 5, 2023, the application close date, and will be ranked in terms of the rubric final scores. The top scoring applications will be forwarded to LISC for final grant approval.
- STEP 5.) Applicants who are awarded grants will receive additional instructions on how to access funds for their project. Including uploading additional documents, signing a contract, and additional information on how to access funds, and report on the progress of the project.