Since the CARES Act was enacted in April 2020, two additional federal relief packages have been passed by Congress that include significant increases in emergency funding for child care: the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. These funds began to flow to states during the spring with the intention to get funds out the door and provide relief to providers and families as quickly as possible. While we are still a year away from the first deadlines for states to obligate some funds, it’s important for advocates to monitor state progress to ensure funds are distributed efficiently and equitably. So far, state progress has varied greatly.
The Office of Child Care (OCC) has released guidance on the $24 billion Child Care Stabilization grants made available through the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. The purpose of the guidance is to help states quickly distribute the stabilizations funds to protect and support the existing child care market. As the guidance emphasizes, this funding represents an important opportunity for states to stabilize and rebuild a stronger child care system that meets the diverse needs of all children and families, and of the child care workforce.
Update: With news that the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) is now law, Child Care Aware of America is republishing this resource to support states as they consider spending child care relief funds. ARPA provides $39 billion in child care relief, of which $15 billion in additional funding is made available through the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). These funds can be distributed like the December relief funds ($10 billion) and the CARES Act relief funds ($3.5 billion), including towards the proposed policies detailed in this resource. The remaining $24 billion under ARPA will be made available through a separate child care stabilization fund.
The 2020 election cycle set a record for voter turnout. Preliminary estimates show that more Americans— about two-thirds of eligible voters— voted in 2020 than in any other election in U.S. history. And in every single community, child care was on the ballot in the positions of the officials elected. In addition, in some communities child care, early learning or support for children and families were directly on the ballot, and in many of these cases, there was robust support.
Editor's Note: This blog post was originally published December 18, 2020 but has since been updated with updated information. For the most up-to-date information about states' vaccine plans, please visit this page.
On December 11, 2020, the FDA granted emergency use authorization for one of several COVID-19 vaccines under development. Prior to this authorization, the federal government and state health departments have been planning for vaccine distribution, with prioritization based on the individual risk for COVID-19 exposure. While the federal government has provided guidance on prioritization in distribution, each state is tasked with making its own distribution plan for the state population. Child Care Aware® of America (CCA0A) is reviewing each state’s plan to understand how they are prioritizing child care providers to receive the vaccine and to ensure providers are treated equitably as a first step in ensuring access. As plans continue to evolve, we will update this blog and monitor other factors that may impact access.
Child care has always been a through line for communities, supporting children and families in a myriad of ways, but its essential role has been underscored throughout the pandemic. While schools and businesses shut down in the spring of 2020, child care remained open in some capacity in most states so essential personnel could continue to work to keep communities running. The child care sector now faces the uncertainty of an unprecedented school year and the challenges that come along with a new demand for care for school-age children as remote learning becomes the new norm. Child care cannot meet these demands on its own. The system needs sufficient policy solutions.