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The Town of Bedford is offering a new incentive program for childcare facilities

The Town of Bedford is offering up to a $15,000 incentive for childcare businesses either starting up or currently operating.

It’s to address the lack of facilities across the Commonwealth. More than 1 million children 12 years old and younger need childcare, according to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission.

The Town of Bedford’s Director of Planning and Community Development Mary Zirkle said she hopes the new incentive will help parents not have to worry about what to do when they are working.

“This is just a basic need for getting a child adequate childcare so that the parent can focus on the job whatever their shift is. That’s gonna be one of the harder things: making sure that the childcare facilities are open with the shift work they have to do. So, we just want to do our part for filling that need,” said Zirkle.

While childcare across the Commonwealth is a problem, Zirkle said it’s a problem in the Town of Bedford.

She said there are only about six providers in the town leaving many people with concerns.

“We also understand that one of our childcare providers is closing that has been coming through a church. So, we know we’re gonna have very soon another need for this. So, even before that, we knew that there was a shortage of childcare. So, with that coming on, we really need to be prepared to help where we can,” said Zirkle.

To qualify, businesses must be a pre-school or after-school program. Also, the childcare centers must be licensed in Virginia or certified as religiously exempt through the Childcare VA. They must be in the Town of Bedford for at least two years as well.

The application is not up yet. However, Zirkle said it should be up in the next week.

Source: WSLS News 10

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