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Beginning Monday, licensed child care providers will be eligible to seek another round of coronavirus aid from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning.

The Short Term Assistance Benefit for Licensed Entities payments come from CARES Act funding approved by Congress earlier this year.

This round of assistance will be available to providers who were open in October and will be based on their October attendance data. DECAL Commissioner Amy M. Jacobs said they will get $240 per child for each youngster who received in-person assistance at least once during the month.

“It’s a drop in the bucket, but was it greatly appreciated? Yes,” said Debra McDaniel, owner of two childcare centers in Rome.

Gov. Brian Kemp has permitted licensed child care to remain open throughout the pandemic. However, with more families staying at home, child care attendance significantly declined except for children of first responders and essential workers. Currently, approximately 3,322 of Georgia’s 4,449 licensed child care providers are open.

“We were deemed essential last time,” McDaniel said. She’s already got her application for the new round of funding ready to go.

McDaniel said that, as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continues to grow, she is preparing for a potential shutdown.

“We know that family child care learning homes and child care learning centers in Georgia are struggling as a result of COVID-19,” Jacobs said in a press release.

To expedite the payments, she said, the state is developing a simple application that will ask for attendance by age and by program, including the CAPS program and Georgia’s Pre-K Program.

DECAL estimates this round of STABLE payments could be substantially higher than the first round of payments.

During that first round of STABLE aid, DECAL doled out more than $38.8 million to more than 3,700 licensed child care providers. State officials are projecting the second round of assistance could expand to as much as $55 million.

McDaniel said the new round of funding would probably cover her payroll for one month.

“One month will be greatly appreciated, but that money is still taxable and we will have to pay taxes on it,” she added.

Providers can apply for STABLE through Dec. 2, using DECAL’s online portal. The payments will not go out until after the application period closes.

Rome News-Tribune Associate Editor Doug Walker contributed to this story.

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