The PAACT Fund for Quality (PAACT FFQ) Stabilization Grant program has deployed $995,500 to 61 child care centers and family child care homes located in the City of Atlanta, supporting more than 4,500 licensed child care slots.
Promise All Atlanta Children Thrive (PAACT), a citywide alliance convened by GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students, worked with Quality Care for Children to provide targeted support to child care providers in the City of Atlanta. Funding priority was given to help eligible programs located within the Washington and Douglass APS Clusters to sustain their businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This funding will help these child care facilities get through the pandemic,” said Brittany Collins, Director of PAACT. “Our goal is to help stabilize these critically important small businesses to ensure more City of Atlanta families will have access to more high-quality child care options.”
“Operating a successful child care business is challenging even in the best of times. We are pleased to have the opportunity to help child care providers weather this crisis,” said QCC President and CEO Pam Tatum.
Of the PAACT FFQ Stabilization Grant awardees, 89% are women-owned organizations and 80% are people of color. All are Quality Rated providers or are in the process of becoming Quality Rated.
Michelle’s Tiny Tots In-Home Preschool is a two-star Quality Rated family child care learning home located in southwest Atlanta. The facility, owned and operated by Michelle Doleman, was prepared to celebrate its 30th–year reunion celebration this year before this pandemic scuttled the plans. Doleman will use the grant funding to cover utilities, lost income, and reopening costs. Between six to eight students are set to return in June.
“I love my job and I’m going to use this funding to the best of my ability,” said Doleman. “Now I can do what I need to get done for when the babies come. I like to tell our families that when you’re a Tiny Tot, you’re family. We are in this together and we will be together again soon.”
The Westside School is a two-star Quality Rated inclusive child care learning center serving families in the City of Atlanta’s Capitol View community. Their program offers childcare for children with disabilities, helps families navigate the evaluation process, and links families with a local therapist. The Westside School’s administrative and instructional staff have early childhood education with special education backgrounds.
They are using the grant funding to cover mortgage payments, salaries, and cleaning supplies. Owner Dr. Honey Meadows says The Westside School has remained open but had to close briefly in April because of staffing issues. They are planning to be up to three classes of students in June.
“These funds are really invaluable,” said Dr. Meadows. “I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to know that we have a safety net. Southwest Atlanta is underserved when it comes to quality childcare options and more specifically, options for children with unique learning needs. Our programs are vital, and we will use these resources to continue the important work our educators do during this pandemic.”
PAACT is a citywide alliance convened by GEEARS to improve outcomes for Atlanta’s children ages 0-to-5 years old. The PAACT Fund for Quality (PAACT FFQ) is a targeted investment program that aims to increase opportunities for high-quality childcare in the Atlanta region. PAACT FFQ is a partnership of GEEARS: Georgia Early Education Alliance for Ready Students and Reinvestment Fund.
Given the impact of the pandemic, PAACT FFQ is currently focused on stabilization efforts modeled after Reinvestment Fund’s Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE) program. Quality Care for Children is administering the stabilization grant program made available through funding from the United Way of Greater Atlanta (UWGA), the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Naserian Foundation, and HomeGrown.
The PAACT Advisory Board established and approved the application scoring criteria. Quality Care for Children scored the applications and assembled a selection committee to evaluate the final pool of awardees.
“Our ability to respond so nimbly during a pandemic is a testament to the strong foundation that city leaders built when they came together to form PAACT,” said Mindy Binderman, Executive Director of GEEARS. “Thanks to this work, along with the guidance and assistance from the Reinvestment Fund, we were able to deploy dollars quickly to the highest and best use through the PAACT Fund for Quality.”
The grant funding was targeted at programs in the City of Atlanta that provide early learning and care for children from birth to age five, with licensed child care centers and family child care homes eligible for support. Child care organizations that stay open during the pandemic or are temporarily closed, by mandate or choice, were eligible to apply.