Photo: Viktor Hanacek

As Alaska starts to return to work, the state government is focused on greasing the wheels of one of the barriers to re-entry - child care.  With schools out of session, many parents have had more time at home with their children than normal because child care was not an option.

“Childcare providers in the State of Alaska are critical to the economic infrastructure of the state. Our workforce cannot function without safe, competent childcare for their children during working hours,” said Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. “It is imperative that these providers remain open and available during the COVID-19 crisis so that, as restrictions for social distancing are lifted, our workforce can return to work.”

There are 492 licensed providers in Alaska. 205 child care facilities are currently closed, 287 are now open, and 359 facilities submitted a Request for Payment of $9,037,739 for services according to a press release from the Governor's office. Tuesday, Governor Michael Dunleavy committed funds to Alaska child care providers.

“My administration is committed to meeting the needs of Alaska’s child care providers who serve as an important aspect of reopening our economy. We recognize the need of parents to have functioning childcare as they to return to work and it is important we support these providers in this time,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “I’ve directed our Department of Health and Social Services to allocate needed funds to support childcare facilities across Alaska.”

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to work in coordination with federal partners to disperse funding to the Child Care Program Office (CCPO) in order to meet the need of childcare providers statewide. The U.S. Administration of Children and Families allocated $6,400,000 for these payments, so the remainder of $2.6 million will be supplemented by using State funds according to Dunleavy.