Notice of Funding Availability for Affordable, Quality Child Care

Notice of Funding Availability for Expansion of Affordable, Quality Child Care

The Child Care Initiative (CCI) provides a strategic framework to address challenges in providing child care for Arlington families. The CCI focuses on:

  • Accessibility: Increase access to child care that is affordable, with a particular focus on families whose income meets the threshold for public assistance safety net programs.
  • Availability: Increase the availability and utilization of child care slots.
  • Quality: Enhance the safety and quality of all child care.

In support of the CCI, the County Board allocated $5 million in one-time funding. Of this, $4.5 million is the subject of this Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), which solicits proposals for child care capital investment consistent with the County Board's direction. The remaining $0.5 million will be the subject of future NOFA, providing smaller scale assistance to child care providers for a broader range of support.

Notice of Funding Availability for Expansion of Affordable, Quality Child Care(DOCX, 64KB)

Proposals were due Monday, February 26, 2024, 5:00PM. Award announcements are expected in late spring/early summer, while awards will likely be disbursed in late summer.


Virtual Information Session Recording

Questions and Answers:

NOFA Logistics

Is the funding local, state, or federal?

Are we able to submit more than one proposal?
Applicants are limited to one proposal per location. However, if you have multiple locations in Arlington County, you may submit multiple proposals.

Are you awarding one single large grant or a number of smaller grants?
The number of grants awarded and the amounts awarded will depend on the proposals received that are selected for awards. However, the NOFA establishes a minimum award amount of $250,000.

Is there a timeframe for expending the funds, or what is the grant period?
While the County is interested in projects that can be completed quickly, we recognize the need to be flexible, particularly with capital projects. Therefore, we have not set a specific timeframe for completion. We anticipate that projects will be completed within five years of the award, and timeframes will be negotiated as a part of the grant agreement.

Is there a draft grant agreement available?
No - the grant agreement will be negotiated based on the needs of individual projects, including the funding disbursement schedule, the timeframe, and reporting requirements. However, you may look at the grant agreement for the RACE to Rebuilding Trust & Community NOFA sample grant agreement (at the end of the document) for an idea of general terms.

How will funding be disbursed? As one lump sum, in increments, or based on reimbursable expenses?
Funding disbursement would be negotiated while drafting the grant agreement based on the details of the proposal.

For how long and how often will reporting be required?
Reporting requirements will depend on the details of the individual projects and will be negotiated with the grant agreement. We anticipate reporting no more frequently than quarterly.

Are programs based in religious institutions able to apply?
Religious institutions are welcome to apply if they meet applicable licensing or quality requirements. For religiously exempt child day centers, this involves meeting the minimum requirements set forth by the Virginia Department of Education found here. Additionally, religious institutions may not show preferential treatment to families based on religious affiliation, nor may applicants include proselytizing in their child care programming.

What will the additional $500,000 NOFA be for, and when will it be released?
The remaining $500,000 will be the subject of a NOFA that will provide smaller scale assistance for a broader range of support and will be issued later this year.

Application Content

Is this funding only for new programs, or can existing programs apply?
New or existing programs can apply as long as they are achieving the NOFA's goals of increasing affordable, quality child care.

Is there a specific age range that this NOFA is looking for? Is there any preference for harder to serve populations?
We did not specific a particular age range or population. However, we do ask that the targeted population be identified as best as possible, and a strong application will demonstrate the clear need for affordable care options for its targeted population.

Is there a preference for proposals which may provide non-traditional hours or serve specific zip codes?
Location and non-traditional hours are criteria considered when evaluating the proposal's approach. Specifically, the NOFA indicated a preference for projects located in the 22202, 22204, and 22206 ZIP Codes and the Buckingham, Lyon Park, and Hall's Hill neighborhoods. Non-traditional hours include times before 7am, after 6pm, overnight, on the weekends, or drop-in availability.

Paragraph 3(b) - for the number of child care slots, are you looking for the total offered by the applicant or the number of slots the applicant will be aiming to subsidize?
We are looking for the number of affordable slots resulting from the proposal specifically.

Are we encouraged to participate in the state subsidy program?
We encourage applicants to consider the state subsidy as one avenue for achieving affordability, but we recognize that there may be other options for achieving affordability.

I'm not familiar with subsidy programs. Is there a way to learn about them and how to go through the process of providing subsidies?
The state website provides step-by-step guidance on how to participate in the subsidy program.

The NOFA indicates that programs should attain affordability equal to 7 percent of a family's income. Can we submit a proposal that would offer a deeper subsidy, such as one that would not make extremely low-income families pay at all?
Yes, we welcome deeper subsidies for families with significant need.

Where can we find the Area Median Income (AMI) income limits?
AMI income limits are established annually based on median income statistics for the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Metro Area by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They may be found here.

May we submit letters of support with our application?
We require a minimum of two references per proposal. Letters of support are welcome but not required; volume of support letters is not a criterion. Proposals will be awarded based on their merit following the criteria listed in the NOFA announcement.

For the reference portion of the company information, who are the references supposed to be (parents, previous clients, etc.)?
We have no established requirement for the references; however, a diversity of references is appreciated. References should be able to speak to your ability to effectively implement your proposal, rather than advocating for the need for affordable child care.

Can the County provide support to connect programs to families needing affordable child care?
Yes, the County has a list of providers accepting the subsidy that is given to all families when they first enroll in the Subsidy program. Additionally, we anticipate that, later this year, a new Child Care Licensing system will provide families looking for care with real time information about available slots.

Eligible Expenses

What does the government intend the money to be used for? Is the money to be used for a room, the entire center, rent, utilities, or transportation-related expenses?
This one-time funding should be used for expenses that are capital in nature, resulting in a sustainable increase in affordable child care opportunities for families. This may include, but is not limited to, the examples listed in the NOFA announcement. We expect applicants, as experts in child care, to best understand and define the expenses that would yield this result.

Can the NOFA include increasing affordability for middle class residents who may be struggling with child care payments?
This funding is specifically targeting the expansion of affordable child care options for families with incomes at 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). All proposals are welcome with the understanding that the policy priority is to help those families at or below the 50 percent AMI range. AMI income limits may be found here.

Can we use our federally approved indirect rate when calculating expenses?
While this funding is intended for capital-related expenses, recovery of appropriate indirect costs may be allowable. Applicants should explain the types of expenses included and how they directly relate to the proposal. We do not believe a standard calculation for indirect costs related to operations would be applicable.

If we want to use the funding for rent abatement, what would a sources and uses table look like?
If you are only using the funding for rent abatement, the sources and uses table would be a simple relationship, where the grant would go directly towards rent, resulting in affordable child care.