LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Applications are being accepted today for the third round of COVID-19 relief grants for child care needs in Los Angeles, which will provide $10 million to service providers.

``There is no effective child care without child care operators,'' Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez said. ``During a pandemic that has closed many child care providers, working moms are struggling to maintain all aspects of their family, child care and work life. They need help.''

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Martinez said about 32% of the Los Angeles region's child care centers and 73% of family child care homes have remained open. Many child care providers will be forced to shutter permanently without additional financial support, she said.

``These grants will provide crucial financial support for home-based and center-based providers struggling to provide quality child care amidst the pandemic,'' said Angie Garling, National Director of Early Care and Education Programs at the Low Income Investment Fund, which is administering the grants with the city's Economic and Workforce Development Department.

``The early care and education sector, made up primarily of women of color, has been hard hit by the pandemic and recession,'' Garling said. ``These small businesses need financial support in order to survive and for the local economy to recover.''

Licensed child care providers within the city of Los Angeles can apply for the program at laecefund.org/ecefund.org. Applications will close at noon Thursday, Oct. 22.

The program will provide $10,000 grants to family child care homes, $25,000 grants to small centers serving up to 60 children and $40,000 grants to larger centers that serve more than 60 children.

Grant awardees will be selected based on a lottery system, Martinez' office stated.

The funding is part of a total $30 million being distributed through three rounds that the City Council authorized for child care needs.

One round awarded $10 million of relief funding to low-income families -- living below 85% of the area median income -- who can't afford the services due difficulties brought on by the pandemic. People can still apply for that money, which will be available through Dec. 31 or as money remains.

City residents can register at ccala.net or by calling 1-888-922-4453 for more information.

The second round provided $10 million to the Department of Recreation and Parks to establish 50 alternative, after-school learning centers throughout the city to provide additional child care service.

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