Today, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package with $39 billion in child care relief funding. The $39 billion in dedicated child care funding provides $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and $24 billion for a child care stabilization fund.
Other critical supports for families and children provided by the relief bill include:
- $1 billion for Head Start
- $130 billion for K-12 schools
- $1,400 stimulus payments for individuals
- A permanent increase in annual funding for the Child Care Entitlement to States for a total of $3.550 billion per year
- An expansion of the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for each child under 6 years old and $3,000 for each child between 6 and 17 years old
- An expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit up to a maximum credit of $4,000 for one child or dependent and $8,000 for two or more children or dependents
- An extension of the 15% increase to Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits through September
- $880 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children
- An extension of the voluntary emergency paid sick and paid leave tax credits from March 31 to September 30, 2021, and an increase to the total amount of wages an employer can claim the credit from $10,000 to $12,000 per employee
In response, Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America—the nation’s leading voice for child care—released the following statement:
We are grateful to see this latest relief package make it across the finish line. This is a monumental occasion and an historic investment in child care. We applaud President Biden’s leadership and the child care champions in Congress who have continued to fight for relief.
Across the COVID-19 relief packages passed over the past year, child care will have received over $50 billion in relief during this pandemic. This critical funding will save thousands of providers from permanent closure and help families across the country afford child care. Beyond child care relief, the American Rescue Plan provides the financial support many Americans desperately need to make it through the pandemic.
We owe so much gratitude to the thousands of advocates who have contacted their Members of Congress and shared their stories during this difficult time. Over the past twelve months, Congressional Democrats and Republicans recognized that child care is a critical part of the economy and our country’s recovery. Policymakers on both sides of the aisle consistently included child care support in COVID-19 relief proposals. It is because of our collective demands for more support that child care became a priority.
Although we know that the pandemic pushed the industry to the brink, problems within the child care sector existed long before the pandemic. The funds provided by the American Rescue Plan will help to stabilize the child care sector, but we must commit to building back a better system that is more accessible and affordable to families and offers providers a living wage and benefits. This is an opportunity to transform our child care system. To meet this moment, CCAoA released bold new ideas on how to create an equitable and transformed child care system that is affordable, accessible and provides children the healthy start they need.
As we all take this moment to applaud the hard work of our collective advocacy in securing the necessary supports for child care, I hope that we will continue to work together towards building a child care system that works better for providers, parents, and children.