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What They Are Reading in the States: American Rescue Plan Funds Go to States, Tribes and Territories to Rescue Child Care Industry

April 16, 2021

Following the release of $39 billion of American Rescue Plan funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the child care crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, local news across the country has been reporting on the funding their communities will receive to help early childhood educators and family child care providers keep their doors open.

Americans have been reading in local news stories about how these funds are a critical step in helping their state recover economically, providing a lifeline for hundreds of thousands of child care providers while helping parents, especially mothers, get back to work.

See below for a sampling of what people are reading in Texas, Kentucky, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Rhode Island, Virginia and North Carolina.

CBS 11 Dallas-Fort Worth: $4.4B In Federal Childcare Aid Heading To Texas
[Robbie Owens, 4/15/21]

ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Calling safe, affordable childcare critical to the economic recovery, the federal government is sending billions of dollars to Texas to support families and the childcare centers that allow parents to work.

"Without childcare, the economy is not going to recover, because without people being able to get back to work, the economy won't be able to get back on its feet," says Lynne Groff, "that's how essential childcare really is."

Groff owns Primrose School of N.E. Green Oaks in Arlington.

She says her center has remained open during the pandemic, but at the onset could only serve the children of essential workers. That meant enrollment dropped while expenses skyrocketed.

"The cost of basic things like toilet paper and paper towels and even bleach, the cost of everything just went up!" says Groff. "One of the things that people need to remember is that most childcares are operated by small business owners, and we all know the impact that the pandemic has had on small businesses nationwide."

And the Biden-Harris administration agrees.

"So today we're announcing the single largest investment in childcare in our nation's history," said Vice President Kamala Harris at an afternoon briefing. "This investment is part of the American Rescue Plan, which the President signed into law over a month ago."

Some $4.4 billion in childcare support is headed to Texas.

The state will administer the program, with childcare centers expected to be the primary beneficiaries.

"This is going to help childcare providers who had to shut down, open back up…who had to shut down, be able to put people back on the payroll that they had to lay off and pay bills," says Karine Jean-Pierre, White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary, "also funding to help with mental health for both child and providers."

Certain families can also expect help with childcare expenses, says Jean-Pierre.

"Within the American Rescue Plan, there is funding there for parents and for families to help pay for their childcare services."

Families who perform essential work or who earn at or below 85% of the state's median income –approximately $52,593 in Texas for a family of four– can also apply for assistance with childcare expenses.

"This money is so necessary," says Groff.

Louisville Courier-Journal: Kentucky to get $763 million in federal aid for child care system hit by pandemic
[Deborah Yetter, 4/15/21]

Kentucky is getting $763 million in federal money to shore up its child care system, hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year.

The money is part of a $39 billion allocation for child care nationwide through the American Rescue Plan, enacted by Congress this year aimed at helping states, local governments and others recover from the pandemic.

Disbursement of the child care funds, which also include $877 million for Indiana, was announced Thursday in a news release from the White House.

"These funds will help early childhood educators and family child care providers keep their doors open," the release said.

Child care providers, it said, "have been on the frontlines caring for the children of essential workers and support parents, especially mothers, who want to get back to work."

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday said he doesn't yet know when the state will get the funds or how they will be distributed but said he is "thrilled" that Kentucky is receiving additional money for child care.

"We have a chance not just to rescue child care from the difficulties of the pandemic but to build it up," Beshear said.

Kentucky's child care programs, like those in most states, were forced to shut down temporarily in March 2020 during the pandemic. When they were allowed to reopen in June, it was with reduced class sizes, new cleaning and sanitation rules and other requirements providers said added to operating costs.

Some centers didn't reopen.

Kentucky had about 2,200 licensed or certified child care centers before the pandemic and now has about 1,900.

Nationwide, about one in four child care centers that closed for the pandemic had not reopened by December, according to the news release.

The new federal funds can help struggling centers survive, said Cori Gadansky, executive director of Community Coordinated Child Care, or 4Cs, a resource center in Louisville.

"I think it will be a huge saving grace for our providers," Gadansky said. "I think there's going to be a lot of relief. People are going to feel a little bit less pressured."

But, she said, the federal money also could help upgrade and build a better system of early childhood education in Kentucky.

"We don't want to go back into another crisis," Gadansky said. "We don't want to build a better system on a broken foundation."

The federal funds may be used by centers to help pay rent, mortgage or utility bills, help with facility upgrades and pay off debts incurred from the pandemic.

The money also may be used to keep workers on the payroll, rehire those who have been laid off, recruit new workers and increase pay for staff in what is generally a low-wage job. About 38,000 people work in child care in Kentucky,

It also increases money to help low-income families pay for child care.

And it includes incentives for states to improve the quality of child care and expand hours to provide more access to care on evenings and weekends when many essential employees work and need child care.

The funds will be distributed by the state.

Gadansky said the federal funds could set Kentucky on a path to higher-quality early childhood education long sought by the state's education and children's advocates.

"This is the moment we could actually seize this opportunity to invest in children before they get to kindergarten," she said.

WRDW Augusta: Georgia getting $1.57B in child care aid from American Rescue Act
[4/15/21]

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Georgia is due for $1.57 billion of the $39 billion in American Rescue Plan funds released Thursday to states, territories and tribes to address child care issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These funds will help early childhood educators and family child care providers keep their doors open, the Biden administration said.

The administration said the money will:

  • Help hundreds of thousands child care centers and family child care providers make rent or mortgage payments, pay bills, maintain or improve facilities and pay off debt incurred during the pandemic.
  • Pay for costs of safety measures such as masks, physical distancing, improved ventilation and consistent cleaning.
  • Keep workers on payroll, rehire laid-off workers, recruit new workers and increase the pay and benefits of child care workers.
  • Provide child care subsidies to families earning below 85% state median income and families performing essential work.

The American Rescue Plan also included an increase in support for child care through changes in the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.

WTVA North Mississippi and West Alabama: Mississippi receives $518M; Alabama receives $732M to aid child care recovery
[Zac Carlisle, 4/15/21]

WASHINGTON (WTVA) - Mississippi is receiving almost $519 million from the American Rescue Plan to address child care issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Congress passed and President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill, on March 11.

States, territories and tribes will receive $39 billion from the Plan, the White House announced Thursday.

"These funds will help early childhood educators and family child care providers keep their doors open," read a White House release. "These providers have been on the frontlines caring for the children of essential workers and support parents, especially mothers, who want to get back to work. These funds are a critical step to pave the way for a strong economic recovery and a more equitable future."

Mississippi is receiving $518,821,425 specifically, and Alabama is receiving $732,997,365.

WLOS Asheville: American Rescue Plan to provide $1.3 billion to North Carolina for child care
[Kristy Kepley-Steward, 4/16/21]

WLOS — On Thursday, the Biden Administration announced the release of $39 billion of American Rescue Plan funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the child care crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

North Carolina will receive $1.3 billion for child care with funds going to help early childhood educators and family child care providers keep their doors open.

[…]

CBS 19 Charlottesville: Funding to help child care industry recover
[4/15/21]

WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- Every U.S. state and territory is getting some funding to help the child care industry and the economy recover.

According to a release, the Biden administration has announced the release of $39 billion from the American Rescue Plan to address the child care crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

[…]

Virginia is getting more than $793.4 million of this funding, with more than $304.8 million for child care development fund flexible funding and more than $488.6 million for child care stabilization funding.

Newport Buzz: Biden releases $39 billion to aid child care
[By Christian Winthrop, 4/15/21]

Today, the Biden Administration is announcing the release of $39 billion of American Rescue Plan funds to states, territories, and tribes to address the child care crisis caused by COVID-19. These funds will help early childhood educators and family child care providers keep their doors open.

Rhode Island will receive $35,723,344 in Child Care Development Fund Flexible Funding and $57,251,352 in Child Care Stabilization Funding for a total of $92,974,696 in rescue plan funding.

Joseph R. Biden, What They Are Reading in the States: American Rescue Plan Funds Go to States, Tribes and Territories to Rescue Child Care Industry Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/349578

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