Just 247 applications were submitted for Culpeper County's Child Care Relief Program intended to help offset pandemic-related increases in childcare costs.
Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisors set aside $730,000 for the program and county officials expected over 1,000 applications from parents of students in grades k-8.
The county was able to budget the money due to savings incurred from Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Recovery Act funding. Since the county can not directly make payments to citizens, the Health Services department was enlisted to review applications and mail checks.
Original plans called for the $730,000 to be equally split among applicants. Health Services Director Lisa Peacock said the county expected around 1,500 applications. If the money was evenly divided among the 247 applicants, they would receive nearly $3,000.
County Administrator John Egertson said that would not happen and the plan is to award successful applicants $1,000.
He added that the county plans to extend the application deadline to mid-January and successful applicants during round two will receive up to $1,000. Parents who received money in round one can not receive money in round two.
“At the close of the second round, we will evaluate where we stand,” Egertson said.
The round one application period was open Dec. 2 – 18 and checks will be mailed by the end of December. Just three out of the 247 applications were denied, because they came from people living outside of the county.
Peacock said she has no clue why there were not more applicants.
The application process, she explained, consisted of “basic questions.” All parents had to verify was that they are indeed the child's parent or guardian and that they are county residents with children in grades k-8 at private or public schools. Applicants also had to sign an affidavit swearing that all information provided is true and a W-9 form because the money is taxable income. All said, the application was a one-page document.
Even though there were fewer applicants than expected, Peacock said “this is a wonderful thing the Board of Supervisors did and the families that applied can definitely use the funds and I was happy to be a part of the process.”