The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has developed a Child Care Strengthening Plan to advance efforts to ensure the long-term stability of the child care sector in New Hampshire. The Child Care Strengthening Plan is the result of legislation passed under Senate Bill 446, which directed DHHS to develop a plan to foster sustainable child care opportunities, focusing on strategies and solutions that address staffing shortages at child care centers across the State.
“As with many other employers, New Hampshire child care providers are still struggling with staffing, making it more difficult for our families to access quality child care,” said DHHS Associate Commissioner Christine Santaniello. “This plan gives us an opportunity to develop innovative and progressive solutions to support the needs of families and deliver high-quality child care by investing in our child care workforce.”
The Child Care Strengthening Plan builds upon the third phase of the Department’s initiatives to support the child care sector, funded through American Rescue Plan Discretionary Funds (ARPA-D), which totaled $29 million. The Plan embraces several guiding principles: ensuring an available supply of child care professionals; increasing families’ access to affordable, quality care; and minimizing overhead costs while maximizing facility spaces to provide additional program space.
Among the Child Care Strengthening’s short-term initiatives are:
- Strengthening pipelines for the early learning teacher workforce through reinvestment in high school programs and partnerships with the Department of Education;
- Expanding access to the Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) initiative, in which scholarship funds are awarded to current child care professionals to pursue higher education while working;
- Providing grants for one-time operating costs in order to free up revenue to support workforce development, including start-up costs, facility maintenance, or expansion of classrooms or outdoor spaces;
- Implementing training and education partnerships with New Hampshire Employment Security to encourage employment pathways for professional development, training programs, and continuing education.
To date, the state has invested more than $112 million into the child care sector, with more than $97 million going directly to child care centers. To read the full plan, visit https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/sites/g/files/ehbemt476/files/documents2/dhhs-child-strengthening-plan.pdf