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Missouri eases childcare restrictions to help families during COVID-19 pandemic

Among the changes: licensed centers will be able to accept more children and be open longer hours

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri is easing some regulations to help families concerned about childcare while kids are out of school during the coronavirus pandemic. The changes impact childcare providers, all families who use licensed childcare programs and families who qualify for the Child Care Subsidy.

The Missouri Departments of Health and Senior Services and Social Services announced the changes Thursday evening.

While schools are closed, licensed childcare providers will be able to use the rules that apply to emergency school closings.

This will allow programs to go over the normal capacity limit as dictated on their license. Programs will be able to accept 33% more children in their program than they’re typically allowed to do.

RELATED: Parents figuring out what to do as daycare facilities close amid COVID-19 concerns

DHSS is also making short-term childcare licenses available. The licenses will be good for 45 days and can be renewed. They’ll only be awarded after an abbreviated inspection “that focuses on key health and safety indicators,” the state said in its news release Thursday night.

The state is also loosening some of its restrictions to allow licensed centers to extend their hours.

Parents who need to find childcare can call Child Care Aware of Missouri at 1-866-892-3228 to speak with a referral specialist. There’s also a website available here. The program is free for parents.

Part of Missouri’s changes also take into account low-income families. The Department of Social Services extended the Child Care Subsidy program benefits for 90 days. Also, the program will cover additional hours of childcare because of a child being out of school or a parent having to work extra hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families who want to apply for the Child Care Subsidy benefit program can reach out to the Family Support Division at 1-855-FSD-INFO or by visiting the state’s website here.

All of Missouri's school districts, both public and private, have put classes on hold for at least the next couple weeks.

READ MORE: List of major school districts closed in the St. Louis area due to coronavirus concerns

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