April 21, 2022

Technology Access Award for Child Care Providers

Department of Human Services (DHS) certified child care centers can now apply for funding to purchase technology items such as laptops, wireless routers, tablets, and more to expand centers’ technological capacity and enrich the educational experience providers offer to young children and families.

About the Child Care Technology Access Awards

The Child Care Technology Access Awards are one-time grants available through federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Act (CRRSA) funding. The award amount ranges from $2,500 to $5,500 and is based on the eligible DHS certified child care program’s provider type and licensed capacity. This funding opportunity will be awarded in the form of a voucher eligible recipients will use to order approved materials from the Kaplan Learning Company.

The following is a list of technology tools that eligible DHS certified child care programs can order through the award:

  • Accounting software
  • Headsets and Headphones
  • Laptop Computers
  • Office software
  • Portable Scanners
  • Printer/Scanners
  • Smaller items including printer ink and batteries
  • Tablets
  • Walkie-talkies
  • Web Cams
  • Wi-fi Access Point
  • Wi-fi Extenders
  • Wireless Routers


All eligible DHS certified child care providers, regardless of Keystone STAR Level, can apply. To be eligible, programs must meet the following requirements at the time of application submission and final approval:

  • be open and available to provide child care or temporarily closed no more than 14 consecutive business days due to COVID-19 exposure;
  • be in good standing with the Bureau of Certification Services and have a regular or provisional Certificate of Compliance (CoC);
  • have a Certificate of Compliance that is not in a Revocation or Refuse to Renew status with the Bureau of Certification Services; and,
  • not be under investigation by the Office of State Inspector General (OSIG) for fraud or previously convicted of fraud.


DHS certified child care programs who want to apply will be required to designate an authorized representative to complete and electronically sign an online Attestation Form.

Kaplan Learning Center began sending emails to eligible DHS certified child care programs on April 20, 2022. DHS certified child care programs who believe they are eligible but have not received an email from, should first check their spam/junk email inboxes to make sure the email did not get sent there. Programs that didn’t receive an email should contact Kaplan at 1-800-334-2014. To inquire about eligibility status, email OCDEL at

More Information

For additional information about the Award, please see the Announcement ELRC 22-02 Child Care Technology Access Award.


January 24, 2022

Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program Available

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is available to help Pennsylvania families who have overdue water bills or at risk of losing water service for their home.


LIHWAP is a new, temporary program established through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Water assistance is provided as a grant paid directly to service providers and does not need to be repaid.

LIHWAP can help households that are in emergency situations maintain essential water access. Crisis situations include:

  • Past-due water bills;

  • Termination of water service; or,

  • Threat of termination of water service in the next 60 days.


Applicants can be renters or home owners and they do not need to be on public assistance; however, they do need to have an unpaid water bill to qualify.

Eligibility and income requirements are available on the PA Department of Human Services website. The application is available online on the COMPASS website.


January 10, 2022

Share Your ECE Story with DHS

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) is asking early childhood education professionals and child care providers for stories about their work in the field.


DHS is collecting stories from providers and caring professionals about why their work is essential and why they chose their careers. The goal is to highlight the stories of the broader human services system and how the child care industry makes an impact in all parts of the community.

To Submit a Story

Stories can be emailed to the DHS Press Office at DHS is looking for:

  • Why you chose an early childhood career

  • How your career lets you help others

  • A story about when you felt like you’ve made an impact

  • A time you’ve felt proud in your work helping others

  • Or any other story you’re willing to share

Please include names, county/place of residence, and a picture (if possible). Stories might be used on social media, the DHS blog, or the DHS central human services job recruitment page.


November 29, 2021

CCW Non-Traditional Care Add-On Rates Beginning January 2022

Beginning January 1, 2022, PA Department of Human Services certified child care providers who provide care to children receiving Child Care Works (CCW) during non-traditional hours will be eligible for a non-traditional care add-on rate.


DHS certified child care providers that provide care to children receiving CCW for at least two hours between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. on weekdays or any amount of time on weekends will receive a non-traditional care add-on rate.

These rate incentives will support providers that offer care outside of traditional hours, giving parents a safe place for their children and the security necessary to help parents return to work.

The non-traditional care add-on only applies to the days that the non-traditional care takes place and not to any days the child only receives care during typical hours. The add-on rate will be 25% above the established subsidy base rate for each CCW child served during non-traditional hours. Keystone STAR designation does not impact this add-on.

For details, read the full announcement by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL).


April 28, 2021

Format Change for FBI Clearance Result Letter

As of April 17, 2021, ChildLine has changed the format of the FBI Clearance Result letter.
The major change observed in the new format is the consolidation of result boxes. Instead of the four checkboxes previously used on the letter, all result letters now display only two boxes and either “ELIGIBLE” or “INELIGIBLE” will be checked.
Any agency that receives these result letters and wishes to verify the validity may contact ChildLine at 717-783-6211 or 1-877-371-5422. Childline cannot discuss the specific outcome for the applicant(s) with third parties, but can verify receipt of the new letter template.
Information regarding clearances and fingerprinting can be found on the Department of Human Services website.


August 6, 2020

School-Age Funding Opportunity in Allegheny County

If your Out-of-School-Time program needs funding support, check out this new school-age funding opportunity in Allegheny County.


With many Allegheny County schools starting the year full or partially remote, families with school-age children will face several challenges this fall. The critical work of Out-of-School-Time programs in supporting children and families is more important now than ever.

The Allegheny Department of Human Services (DHS), Trying Together, and United Way’s Allegheny County Partners for Out-of-School-Time (APOST) joined forces to support your work. Funding is available for both in-person Community Learning Hubs, as well as Virtual Pods and Programming. Interested applicants should review the information below and apply by Friday, August 14.

Funding Details

    • Funding can be requested from Community Hub programming through December 31, 2020 for staffing, learning materials, personal protective equipment (masks), cleaning supplies, technology for staff only, building upgrades (wifi), transportation, and additional partners to provide enrichment activities and/or tutoring support.
    • For Virtual Pods and Programming, funding will not exceed $50,000 per program for programming through December 31, 2020. This funding may be used for staffing, learning materials, online learning platforms, technology for staff and/or students, and additional partners to provide enrichment activities and/or tutoring support.


To receive funding, programs must meet a list of requirements, including requirements related to, but not limited to, staffing, enrollment, health, safety, and reporting. Before submitting an application, please review the full list of requirements carefully.

Only apply if this is something you are committed to pursuing. If this is not the right fit for your program, there are many other ways to support children and families this year.

Apply for Funding

If your program is interested in providing this expanded service, please complete this online application form and submit a budget by Friday, August 14. Submit your budget to Amy Malen via email at

Please note that there is no guarantee that funding will be available for all agencies that are interested in providing this service. DHS, Trying Together, and the United Way will review all applications submitted and assess how to best match interested agencies with specific needs and available funds. Funding will be available for both in-person and virtual offerings, however, priority will be given to in-person requests given child care needs.

More Information

For more information, please review this document.


December 7, 2019

PA DHS Releases 2019-2022 Strategic Plan

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (PA DHS) released its 2019-2022 Strategic Plan outlining methods to assist Pennsylvanians in achieving “safe, healthy, and productive lives while being an accountable steward of commonwealth resources.”


In an opening message from PA DHS Secretary Teresa Miller, Miller highlights the core values and mission of PA DHS, stating:

“We strive every day to make sure…that every Pennsylvanian can be secure in the knowledge that they have somewhere to turn on that nearly inevitable day when they find themselves or a friend or family member struggling, perhaps with a physical or intellectual disability, addiction, cancer, abuse, mental illness, or any number of circumstances. DHS exists to protect and advocate for some of our most vulnerable Pennsylvanians, and we are steadfastly committed to that work.”

With this, the plan highlights DHS’ Strategic Priorities to continue improving and streamlining its programs to fulfill its mission to “assist Pennsylvanians in achieving safe, healthy, and productive lives” and protect Pennsylvanians under the care of licensed providers.

DHS Strategic Priorities

The PA DHS Strategic Plan priorities include:

    • providing every child with a strong foundation for physical and behavioral well-being;
    • bending the health cost curve;
    • enhancing access to health care and services that help Pennsylvanians lead healthy, productive lives;
    • promoting accountable and transparent government.

More Information

For more information on DHS’ 2019-2022 Priorities, read the full Strategic Plan. To learn more about Trying Together, visit our Home page.