President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris have shared the top priorities for their administration. They include COVID-19 response, economic recovery, racial equity, and climate change. Many items mentioned in the brief transition website are relevant for North Carolina’s young children and families, particularly those who are the most overburdened and under-resourced.
Under the economic recovery priority, the Biden administration mention ensuring affordable childcare and professionalizing the educator workforce (pay, benefits, opportunities), as well as ensuring racial equity in economic recovery, such as through closing the racial wealth gap, expanding affordable housing, investing in Black, Latino, and Native American entrepreneurs and communities, and ensuring educational opportunity regardless of race or place.
Building a 21st century care infrastructure is also mentioned under the Racial Equity priority, which is appropriate given that early educators and other caregivers are disproportionately people of color. The Racial Equity section includes with clear language about the importance of addressing systemic racism and growing economic inequality.
The COVID-19 response priority outlines a 7-point plan, including:
- Regular, reliable and free testing
- Guidance and resources for navigating the pandemic
- A plan for the equitable distribution of treatments and vaccines
- Protecting those at high risk, including establishing a task force to provide recommendations and oversight on health and economic disparities
- Rebuild and expand defenses to predict, prevent, and mitigate pandemic threats.
- Implement mask mandates nationwide.
The final priority outlines how the Biden administration plans to address climate change, which will impact all current and future Americans. People of color suffer disproportionately from climate change, which affects the health and well-being of children and families. From disaster trauma to excessive pollution, these impacts can last a lifetime.
NCECF had previously reported on the current opportunity to reimagine and rebuild a child care system that functions better for children and families. The pandemic has brought into sharp relief what parents already knew – that dependable child care is essential to the NC economy. Parents can’t go back to work until they are comfortable sending their children back to child care that is safe and high quality. And reopening and rebuilding our child care system is going to take public investment.
Biden shared more detail on his child care priority back in July, when he released a $775 billion plan to expand access for and lower the cost of caregiving, including child care and preschool. The plan prioritizes:
- Making high-quality preschool for three- and four-year-olds universal through a mixed delivery system
- Providing options of a tax credit or a sliding scale subsidy structure to help low- and middle-income families pay for child care.
- Funding high quality child care standards and a well-trained and well-compensated child care workforce.
- Expanding access to care during nontraditional hours and providing wraparound services.
- Providing families with school-aged children with expanded access to after-school, weekend, and summer care.
- Accelerating construction and renovation of child care facilities.
President-Elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris take office on January 20.