Influx of appropriations for child care in American Samoa
Muavaefa’atasi John E. Suisala, Acting Director of the Department of Health and Human Services in American Samoa, announced that the Department’s Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care has allocated $12,731,089 to the territory through the recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.
This money will be available until October 30, 2023. As the lead agency for the Child Care and Development Fund, the Department of Health will primarily use the money to support initiatives trying to limit the impacts of the pandemic on the early learning and child care system in the territory. The money will allow for data services that are both focused on supporting the children and their families, and fair to providers and workers.
Specifically, this supplemental money will be used so that facilities are able to stay open despite the pandemic and allow for the children of essential workers to continue receiving care without regarding the income eligibility requirements. It will also assist care providers in ensuring that their facilities are safe and in line with local, state, and territory health departments and Center for Disease Control recommendations to ensure that the territory continues to be free of the Coronavirus.
Acting Director Muavafa’atasi concluded his press release by thanking the federal government and his Region IX counterparts for their continued support as the Department continues to address problems created by the global pandemic. He also thanked Governor Lemanu P.S. Mauga, as the Department of Health and Human Services continues to develop a plan to make sure that these funds are used where they are most needed. There will be further announcements that will be shared with stakeholders and the general public following their approval by the Region IX Office.