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Kins who care for kids to receive $675 per child a month

By C.J. Urquico

Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero today launched the Relative Care Grant Program under the Prugråman i Pinilan i Famagu’on Guåhan initiative.

The program aims to provide relatives who care for displaced children with funds through a collaboration between the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) and the Department of Public Health & Social Services (DPHSS).

“Childcare is a very much-needed service of our people,” Leon Guerrero said. “The aunties, uncles, the nanas, ninas, and the grandmas and grandpas that take care of their nieces and nephews and get paid up to $675 per child a month. However, it is required that the relative goes through a one-day certification program. We will also grant up to $5,000 for facilities improvement.”

For caregivers fostering related children 12 and under, $675 is more than the current monthly stipend of $576.63.

Unlike fostering, there is no licensing requirement for the program. The program includes training and certification through DPHSS. Prospective caregivers/grantees are required to be in the process of or complete the training to qualify.

“It’s not very hard to do. It’s a one-day certification program for relatives who care for their family members' children. We want to push it out to help people get a better quality of life.” the governor said.

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“The governor and lt. governor’s vision and support of what we do in public health and this vision of expanding the opportunity for our childcare providers is a significant way of moving things forward," DPHSS Director Art San Agustin said.

"In addition to facilities maintenance, grant funds can be used to purchase protective equipment and supplies like fire extinguishers and other goods. It also includes early childhood mental health consultation services.”

“This is one of a number of programs we have, running concurrently with Childcare Bootcamp, Community Cares program, Community Development Block Grant, and Childcare block grant under the Prugråman Pinilan umbrella,” said Melanie Mendiola, GEDA administrator.

“We especially recommend this program for those caring for special needs children, to provide training to help better serve our kids. It is a rolling approval process, so we approve as we receive applications," she added.

Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio said the program seeks to provide more options for childcare on Guam.

"Some parents are more comfortable placing their kids in a less crowded environment. In addition, it allows relatives the opportunity to gain a much-needed income stream," he added.

The agency overseeing Prugråman Pinilan is the Bureau of Child Care Services, Division of Children’s Wellness, under the DPHSS.

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