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How, specifically, can the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan – a federal COVID-19 relief package — help child care?

Here are some new, national tools and reports that have good answers.

Infants and toddlers: Get details on the opportunities for infants and toddlers on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at noon, when the Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center will host a webinar. The policy impact center has also released a research brief that says in part: “The American Rescue Plan represents an unprecedented increase in funding for programs that improve the lives of families with young children. From the expanded child tax credit to economic stimulus payments and billions more in child care funding, this law provides a buffer for families, workers, caregivers, and child-serving organizations during an economic and public health emergency.”

The brief also explains how the American Rescue Plan ties into the impact center’s early childhood policy roadmap, which we blogged about here. The impact center is based at the University of Texas Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs.

Fixing child care – and making it stronger than before: Last year, Opportunities Exchange, an early childhood nonprofit, published Louise Stoney’s article, “REINVENT vs. REBUILD: Let’s Fix the Child Care System.” Stoney, the co-founder of the Alliance for Early Childhood Finance, writes about the financial instability that early education and care programs have faced both before and during the pandemic. Stoney also recommends a “Child Care Come-Back Plan” that federal Covid funds could support. This plan explains how “public and private sector leaders” can “effectively lead a child care come-back effort” that includes provider-based technology, business coaching, and new rate setting strategies.

Strategies for states: CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy) has published an article — “State Implementation of the Historic COVID Child Care Relief and Stabilization Funds” by Christine Johnson-Staub – that offers states advice on how child care relief dollars can be strategically used. The article notes, “Any proposals for rebuilding and recovery must include significant funding to ensure that the child care system emerges from the pandemic stronger, more equitable, and more able to fully address the needs of children and their families while reflecting respect for a diverse, valued, and fully compensated workforce.”

Child Care deserts/infants and toddlers part II: The title of the Center for American Progress’ report — “Costly and Unavailable: America Lacks Sufficient Child Care Supply for Infants and Toddlers” – sums up the barriers parents face. The center “collected data on infant and toddler child care supply from 19 states and the District of Columbia,” which “represents close to 40 percent of the U.S. population.” Among the findings: “There are more than four children under age 3 per licensed child care slot, or enough licensed child care to serve just 23 percent of infants and toddlers.” Using the center’s “working definition for child care deserts—places where there are three or more children for each licensed child care slot—more than 80 percent of the counties in this study would be classified as an infant and toddler child care desert.”

Investing wisely: This Thursday, check out a webinar — “Spend Every Dime: How $40 Billion Can Change Child Care” — sponsored by CLASP, NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), the EducationCounsel, and the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). The webinar will cover ways that states and advocates can work together to ensure that child care relief dollars are spent quickly, effectively, and equitably to lay the groundwork for substantial, sustainable change. Katie Hamm, the acting deputy assistant secretary for Early Childhood Development at the Administration for Children and Families will provide an overview and answer questions. She will be joined by several panelists who will share lessons and best practices. 

Please check out these resources and share them with your networks.

Our thanks to the Pritzker Children’s Initiative (PCI) “PN-3 Resource Digest” for supplying this information. If you would like to be included on PCI’s distribution list, please e-mail your request to