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ROCKFORD — As parents continue to return to in-office work, they’re relying on child care providers more than ever. At the same time, many of those providers struggling to keep afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Senator Steve Stadelman (D-Rockford) is urging Rockford area child care providers facing financial struggles due to COVID-19 to apply for the next round of Business Interruption Grants to help them remain open and provide more options for parents.

“An unprecedented number of parents are looking for child care providers with so many students doing hybrid or remote learning. Unfortunately, these providers were some of the hardest hit businesses due to the pandemic.” Stadelman said. “Now, their demand is higher than ever, which is why I’m urging providers to apply for these grants. They need to keep their doors open, and parents need safe places to take their kids.”

More than $150 million in grants were awarded to 4,686 child care providers across 95 counties during the first round of BIG grants earmarked for child care. Nearly half of the funds was given to providers in areas disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

Additional care facilities have continued to face financial hardships, leading the state to open a second round of BIG grants specifically for child care. During the second wave, $114 million will be available for child care centers and family child care homes that are licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services and currently open.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of the Rockford community,” Stadelman said. “We need them to succeed.”

Applications for the Child Care Restoration Grants are available until Oct. 15 and can be found here.

All other businesses can apply for BIG grants here.