by Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service

More Georgia families will be getting help from the state paying for child care under an initiative Gov. Brian Kemp announced Monday.

Starting November 1, Georgia will expand its Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program by 10,000 children. The program currently serves 50,000 children from indigent and low-income families.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, we have made child care a top priority in Georgia for assisting first responders, essential workers, and other hardworking families who could not stop their important work or work from home during this challenging time,” Kemp said.

“CAPS is a great example of a public initiative that helps families, their children, and providers alike. This expansion will allow us to serve more Georgians.”

To make covering more children possible, the expansion will raise the program’s eligibility criteria. New guidelines will increase the entry income threshold from 50% of the State Median Income (SMI) to 85% of SMI.

Childcare providers also will receive additional help in the form of bonus payments aimed at helping more providers become Quality Rated.

The poorest Georgia families will get extra help in qualifying for the CAPS program. Those in the lowest-income category will see an income eligibility increase from 50% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 150% of FPL.

The expansion, funded through the American Rescue Plan Congress passed earlier this year, will run through October 1, 2024.

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.

Dave Williams is Capitol Beat bureau chief.

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