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Molinaro Announces $197K Available to Families through COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship

Published: 9/1/2020

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, Communications Director

(845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie … As local schools prepare to open for the 2020-21 school year in non-traditional formats, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today the County has allocated $197,685 for a COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship to benefit families challenged with the unprecedented need for childcare for their school aged children.

This childcare scholarship fund will allow parents the ability to work, look for work or attend college. The intent of this scholarship program is to fill the gap between the number of days students will be physically in school and those days where students are not physically in school. Families are encouraged to consider their available resources and supports, and request the minimal number of days needed to ensure this funding can be maximized.

County Executive Molinaro said, “These unprecedented times have impacted families in so many ways, and the start of the new school year presents a new dilemma as working parents must weigh concerns about at-home learning and childcare while they earn a living to support their family. This COVID-19 Childcare Relief Scholarship will provide families more options and flexibility as they wade through these uncertain times. Dutchess County’s future lies in its children, and we all strive to give them the most comprehensive and safest education possible, while easing stress on working families.

Scholarships will be awarded beginning October 1, 2020 through the end of the academic calendar year by a random selection process to eligible families with school-aged children. This Childcare Relief Scholarship Fund will cover 75 percent of the tuition for each child, paid directly to the childcare facility. Families will be responsible for 25 percent of the tuition. All Dutchess County regulated childcare providers are eligible to participate. Families with children who have special needs will be prioritized. Complete Program Guidance and Application Instructions can be found here.

Funding for this scholarship program was made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to the county for distribution through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to prevent, prepare for or respond to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Dutchess County is partnering with the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc. for the implementation of this program.

Eligible families must meet the following criteria:

• Household income must not exceed 80 percent of the county’s median income limits as illustrated in the below chart.


• Families with school-aged children eligible for acceptance into a regulated childcare facility are eligible to apply.

• Children with special needs will receive a preference.

• Families must live in Dutchess County, excluding the City of Poughkeepsie. The City received its own CDBG-CV funds, so its residents are not eligible for county CDBG funds under federal regulations. 

• Parent(s) or guardian(s) must be working, looking for work or in school to be eligible, unless there are extenuating circumstances and a demonstrated COVID-related need for childcare despite not meeting this criterion.

• The child is not receiving any other childcare subsidy or scholarship, such as a Department of Community and Family Services (DCFS) subsidy or Dyson Scholarship. If eligible for a subsidy from the DCFS, applicants must apply for funding from that program.

• The facility must be a regulated childcare facility in Dutchess County.

“The Child Care Council has been inundated with calls from families with school-aged children – typically, families call looking for childcare. Now, with children not going back to school, families are calling to find childcare and to ask for assistance with the cost of the care. This funding will go a long way in helping to fulfill the need that will exist this school year,” says Jeanne Wagner, Executive Director of the Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam.

Schools also provide a means for children’s social, emotional and behavioral development. With schools shifting their delivery method this fall to limited, if any, in-person instruction due to the pandemic, school-aged children may need additional resources to ensure their various needs are met.

Dutchess County funds many programs through the Agency Partner Grant (APG) program that can be a resource to students, including:

Boys & Girls Club - The Afterschool Project, a comprehensive afterschool program targeting the academic, social, and behavioral development of youth in the City of Poughkeepsie. The program will begin with virtual programming for the first 30 days and transition to in-person services. Registration will be available here, beginning in September.

Child Abuse Prevention Center (CAPC) - Personal Safety Program, which offers preventative sexual abuse education, including internet safety, to children throughout the County. Delivery will be via pre-recorded presentations followed by virtual discussions with CAPC staff. For additional information and to schedule contact Carol Tuttle at

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County - 4-H Youth Development: Literacy, Life Skills and Leadership through Hands-On Experience, which prepares the next generation of agri-professionals in the areas of financial literacy, writing comprehension, public speaking and leadership. Some portions of the program are virtual, and others are in person. To participate, visit the program's webpage or email Emma Jenks at

Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County – Green Teen Program in Beacon and No Child Left Inside (NCLI) Program in the City of Poughkeepsie. These programs help to broaden youth exposure to environmental science, providing outdoor workforce development opportunities and promoting health outcomes. Some portions of these programs are virtual, and others are in person and will continue in the format as conditions allow. Additional information about the Green Teen program can be found here or email Helanna Bratman at For additional information about the NCLI program, visit the program’s webpage or email Danielle Salisbury at

Family Services – Teen Resource Activity Center (TRAC), a mixture of virtual and in-person programming to youth for the 2020-21 academic school year as safety and regulatory guidelines allow. Programming will include life skills workshops, academic assistance, gun and gang violence prevention, recreation and more. For additional information please visit

Hudson River Housing – Youth Learning through Experience, Assistance, and Partnerships (LEAP) Program, provides work readiness skills and training, financial literacy, and leadership skills to low income youth and young adults. Job placements may be in person or virtual depending on the need of the host business. To apply complete this online application or contact Lydia Hatfield at for additional information.

Literacy Connections of the Hudson Valley – Book Buddies, for 2nd - 4th graders in participating schools. Students identified as needing additional reading support will be referred by their classroom teacher and matched with a one-on-one Book Buddy to promote basic reading and comprehension skills, virtually. To apply and for additional information contact or call (845) 452-8670.

Mediation Center of Dutchess County – Restorative Justice Initiative for partnering agencies and schools to address conflict and behavioral matters, while promoting social emotional development, in a diplomatic and non-punitive way. New partner training will be available in October. Programming for ongoing and new partners will be virtual. For additional information, contact Claudia Abbott-Barish, Restorative Justice Coordinator at

North East Community Center – Community Partnership with Schools and Business program, a paid job skills training program for youths and young adults, where they will gain transferable work readiness skills and training to promote their successful transition to adulthood. Job placements may be in person or virtual depending on the need of the host business. For additional information visit the program’s webpage.

North East Community Center – Out of School Time Program enrichment activities to promote academic achievement and socio-emotional and behavioral development to Webutuck Central School District students, which will be in-person for a reduced number of students daily to ensure compliance with social distancing. For additional information and to register visit the program’s webpage.

Poughkeepsie Farm Project - The Fresh Home Chefs program will continue remote programming to offer a food access and healthy eating program for low-income Poughkeepsie families, teaching them how to prepare balanced healthy meals. Register at or for additional information email or text “foodpower” to 845-295-3001.

Poughkeepsie United Methodist Church – Harriet Tubman Academic Skills Center provides academic and social support, to promote educational and behavioral outcomes of at-risk children, in the City of Poughkeepsie. Programming will be in person for a reduced number of students, to allow for social distancing. For additional information visit the Harriet Tubman Academic Skills Center’s webpage.

R.E.A.L. Skills Network – Students Target Academic Retention Techniques (S.T.A.R.T.) Program, an afterschool program in the City of Poughkeepsie that focuses on teaching skills in a nourishing and supportive learning environment to strengthen student’s academic achievement. Programming will be in person, with virtual offerings for families who prefer. For additional information and to register email

Taconic Resources for Independence – Special Education Advocacy services to parents of children with special needs. The advocate will help parents navigate the special education system to ensure students have access to the supports and accommodations necessary for them to achieve their fullest potential. Visit the program’s webpage for details and contact information.

The Art Effect – Youth Workforce Development in Arts & Media program that prepares City of Poughkeepsie youth for higher education and employment opportunities by providing arts-based curriculum, training and hands-on experience in media production and the visual arts. Reduced in-person classes available ensuring all state and CDC COVID-19 safety precautions. Click here for additional information and to apply.