Governor Pedro Pielruisi announced on Tuesday the creation of the Federal Child Care Stabilization Program (PECC) through an allocation of $ 218 million from the Federal Law of the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) and the federal Coronavirus Relief, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) act.
The program, explained the governor at a press conference in La Fortaleza, has the objective of “guaranteeing” the stability of the care centers and maximizing the services they offer.
It is estimated that more than 30,000 boys and girls, between the ages of 0 to 18 and located in 521 care centers and 65 homes licensed by the Department of the Family will be able to benefit from the funds. The money will be available from today, Tuesday, until August 2022 and to request them you must access the portal here.
It was reported that it can be requested by centers or care homes that have been licensed on or before March of this year in accordance with federal guidelines.
“The objectives of the assignment include ensuring the viability of the centers, promoting the latest technology, recruiting and keeping their staff trained and well paid,” said the governor.
“This program represents the largest investment that has been made in more than a decade for the well-being of children who receive care services in Puerto Rico. Our primary objective is to provide them with an optimal environment and to guarantee families that their children are cared for in centers prepared with the most advanced technology and with trained personnel to offer them an excellent service ”, he added.
He specified that the money can be used for the payment of rent or mortgage, water and electricity, internet, telephone service, payroll, fringe benefits to employees, insurance policies, costs related to compliance with health and safety requirements, monthly payment educational platforms, cleaning and accounting services, as well as maintenance services related to health and safety.
The governor specified that federal parameters require that a center be given up to a maximum of $ 4,500 for each minor it serves and a ceiling of $ 100,000 for the purchase of equipment and light improvements.
“They require three quotes for the purchase of equipment and in the same way for the hiring of light improvements in the center or at home,” said the president.
He stressed that the help will be available even for closed care centers that can provide an affidavit in which they establish their projection of reopening in person.
The administrator of the Administration of Care and Comprehensive Development of Children (ACUDEN), Roberto Carlos Pagan He said that all care centers or licensed centers are eligible for assistance regardless of whether they are directed to low-income families or not.
In addition, he explained that the number of children in a center can vary according to their capacity, the service they offer and the population served. For instance, the official said that the care centers house six minors or more. There may be centers with minors up to 13 years old and others with young people up to 18 years old if they have special needs. Anyone can apply for help, he said.
For her part, the Secretary of the Family, Carmen Ana González Magaz said that the help will be key to “supporting parents so that they can keep working with the peace of mind that their children are well cared for in suitable spaces to provide them with everything they need. ”.