Much needed federal relief for the child care sector is on its way to states. And President Joseph Biden says the investment could cut child poverty in half.
Last week, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan was approved by the Senate. The House is expected to vote on the measure by Wednesday morning at the latest.
The plan, which provides sweeping support for COVID-19 recovery, “offers a bold investment in child care relief, finally delivering on the promise of a total of at least $50 billion in direct relief funding,” according to the national nonprofit CLASP (The Center for Law and Social Policy).
Biden is expected to sign the bill into law this week. Once he does, the American Rescue Plan will invest an additional $15 billion in the Child Care and Development Block Grant and $24 billion in Child Care Stabilization Funds. CLASP estimates that Massachusetts will receive $510 million.
This builds on relief that came from last year’s CARES Act and from the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 — adding up to the $50 billion total.
CNET, the technology news website, reports that the American Rescue plan, “increases the existing child tax credit, or CTC, to as much as $3,600 per child (more than double the $1,400 per dependent in the stimulus check) and would let families receive the funds ‘periodically’ instead of just annually during tax season. This increase in the CTC would reduce child poverty by 40%, according to a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,” (CBPP).
Explaining the impact on poverty, the CBPP report adds:
“Among the 4.1 million children whom the expansion would lift above the poverty line, 1.2 million are Black and 1.7 million are Latino. Of the 9.9 million children it would lift above or closer to the poverty line, 2.3 million are Black, 4.1 million are Latino, and 441,000 are Asian American.”
First Five Years Fund Executive Director Sarah Rittling says that the Senate’s approval means “American families and businesses, including child care providers, are one step closer to receiving the relief they desperately need.”
“This relief can’t come soon enough for the countless thousands of early learning facilities across the country that have been hanging on by a thread hoping Congress would deliver enough support to effectively stabilize the child care industry.”
“We are grateful to our many allies on Capitol Hill who have prioritized the needs of our youngest learners and the child care providers who care for them throughout this pandemic and in this relief package.”
What’s next? Rebuild child care and make it stronger than ever. Or as Rittling says:
“Now, lawmakers must harness the overwhelming momentum to address America’s longstanding child care and early learning challenges through a meaningful recovery effort that will deliver immediate and lasting benefits for children, families, and the economy.”