American Rescue Plan Will Provide Critical Supports to Young Children and Their Families

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) was passed by the House on March 10 and will be signed into law by President Biden. The bill continues critical pandemic-era support for young children and families that was started through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021.

We appreciated Zero To Three’s analysis on the ARP. The below graphic outlines how the various provisions of the ARP impact the five major needs for babies that Zero To Three laid out one year ago at the start of the pandemic. Click on the graphic to zoom in.

We also wanted to highlight the child care funding in the ARP, which will provide needed support to both parents with young children in care and providers of child care. The Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) shares that the ARP includes $39 billion for child care, making for a total federal investment in child care of $50 billion since December 2020. Of that, about $15 billion will expand child care assistance to families (thereby also supporting child care providers). The rest (about $24 billion) will create a stabilization fund for child care providers, covering expenses like personnel, rent, maintenance, PPE, etc. for providers who are currently operating or are closed due to the pandemic.

While most of the relief is one-time, $3.5 billion of the increase to the Child Care Development Fund is permanent, which is critical as states, including North Carolina, begin to rebuild more comprehensive, equitable and high-quality early care and education systems post-pandemic. CLASP estimates that North Carolina will receive a total of $1.31 billion for child care from the ARP, including $504 million for child care assistance and $806 million for child care stabilization funds.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shares that the ARP will also make the full Child Tax Credit available to all children except those in households with the highest incomes and raise the amount of the credit. This one provision of the ARP is expected to move more than four million children out of poverty, including 137,000 children in North Carolina. Ninety-two percent of children in NC will benefit from the expanded tax credit.