NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Administrators in Stephen F. Austin State University’s Early Childhood Laboratory were pleasantly surprised to learn recently that the lab had been awarded an extra $162,000 in grant funding through the 2022 Child Care Relief Fund.

“I did not expect this,” said Crystal Adams, director of the lab. “Child care workers are leaving the field at a high rate, so the professional development and incentives made possible by the grant funds will be good for recruitment and retention. We owe it to our students to make sure we are investing in our staff. They are why we do what we do.”

Set to be disbursed in summer 2023, the bonus funds are an addition to the $650,827 awarded to the Early Childhood Laboratory earlier this year, bringing the total to over $812,000. The additional funding will be used for the same purposes as the original funding — professional development, supplies, personnel, equipment, facilities and food services programs.

The grant, which is designed to help child care centers recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, is administered through the Texas Workforce Commission. Last year, the commission approved the distribution of $2.45 billion in American Rescue Plan Act funds for direct relief to child care programs. In February, the commission dedicated an additional $1 billion, bringing the total available amount to $3.45 billion.

To learn more about SFA’s Early Childhood Laboratory, visit