COVID 19 Impacts to the Child Development Field

COVID 19 Impacts to the Child Development Field

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James Moses

Child Care programs that were barely hanging on before COVID 19, find themselves facing terrible hardships as they endure this pandemic. Here is a State-by-State Look that shares how child care programs are hanging on as they wait for help to arrive. Note that, despite the variations in the number of responses, the data across states are remarkably similar in terms of the story they tell about how educators and programs have been affected relative to experiences such as higher costs and lower enrollments. The data also echo state surveys and other data reports that demonstrate the impact of the pandemic, and we encourage folks to access those official sources as well, particularly in the course of tracking updated program closures. Now more than ever, we must advocate for additional funding to preserve our field and services that are essential to our country’s economic well-being.

California State Budget Recap

On June 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed the 2020-21 budget. All in all early learning programs fared well. The full CARES Act CCDBG (Child Care and Development Block Grant) money was all utilized immediately to provide COVID 19 relief for the field and child care financial assistance for essential workers. For the most part, the cuts we experienced were related to funding that had yet to be released and distributed. For more information, you can access a list of budget-related legislation here, the Education Omnibus Trailer Bill here, and the child care and early learning program funding included on pages 39-41 of the full budget summary.

With the major pieces of the 20-21 state budget in place, your CAAEYC Public Policy Committee, along with other statewide advocacy partners, shifted our focus to Federal Advocacy. Congress has several bills directed towards child care relief, and it is our hope to secure a minimum of $50 billion dollars in CCDBG/Child Care relief funding.

Federal Advocacy - Congressional Child Care Bills

The Child Care is Essential Act and the Child Care is Economic Recovery passed the House on 7/29/20.

The Child Care is Essential Act - Child Care is Essential H.R. 7027

This bill establishes and provides $50 billion in appropriations for the Child Care Stabilization Fund to award grants to child care providers during and after the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) public health emergency.

The bill establishes the fund within the existing Department of Health and Human Services Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program, and the grants must be administered by the existing CCDBG lead agencies of states, tribes, or territories.

Child care providers that are currently open or temporarily closed due to COVID-19 are eligible to receive grant awards, which are based on the provider's operating costs before the COVID-19 public health emergency and adjusted to account for the increased costs of providing child care as a result of COVID-19.

Child Care for Economic Recovery Act - Child Care for Economic Recovery H.R. 7327

This bill provides additional funding in FY2020 for taxpayer services, social services, block grants and infrastructure grants to improve child care safety, including needs assessments. The bill adds and modifies certain tax provisions to:

  • increase and make refundable the child and dependent care tax credit;
  • increase the exclusion from employee income for employer-provided dependent care assistance;
  • allow employers payroll tax credits for certain fixed expenses of child care facilities closed due to COVID-19, certain employer-paid employee dependent care expenses, and the employment of workers who perform domestic service in the private home of an employer; and
  • allow a carryover of unused benefits or contributions remaining in a dependent care flexible spending arrangement from the 2020 plan year to the 2021 plan year.

The bill increases funding (1) in FY2020-FY2024 for the general child care entitlement under the Social Security Act, and (2) for child care services for the children of essential workers.

The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to conduct an immediate needs assessment of the condition of child care facilities throughout the United States and authorizes HHS to award grants to acquire, construct, renovate, or improve child care facilities, including expanding facilities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Child Care Infrastructure Act - Child Care Infrastructure Act H.R. 7201

This legislation would provide $10 billion over 5 years to fund physical improvements in child care centers and provide grants and loans to attract and retain a high-quality child care workforce.

Child Care for Working Families Act - Child Care for Working Families Act H.R. 1364 and Child Care for Working Families Act S. 568

Among other things, The Child Care for Working Families Act would address the current early learning and care crisis by ensuring that no family under 150 percent of state median income pays more than seven percent of their income on child care. ... Families under 75 percent of the state median income will not have to pay anything at all.

Heroes Act - Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act - H.R. 6800

This bill responds to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the economy, public health, state and local governments, individuals, and businesses. Among these many things, there is $7 billion dedicated to child care funding.

Heals ACT - Heals ACT S.1624

This is a Senate Republican lead bill. Among many other things, it proposes to allocate $15 billion in child care funding.

CAAEYC Public Policy Presence at the Conference

The Advocacy and Professional Development Workgroup of the CAAEYC Policy Committee put together a variety of sessions focused on Policy issues to provide information to Conference attendees.

Sessions included:

  • Vision 2020: CA ECE Budget and Legislation Update - James Moses and Hannah Thompson
  • Information on Lead Testing in Child Care Centers - Jenna Kline and Joyce Robinson
  • Becoming a Stronger Advocate: Nothing to Fear! - Fran Chasen, Linda Olivenbaum and Michele Soltero
  • Community Care Licensing Updates - Shoghig Khadarian and Jane Cong-Huyen
  • Individual CCL Appointments with Representatives - Shoghig Khadarian and Jane Cong-Huyen

In addition, information about the Public Policy Committee and its activities were available in the HUB. A video describing the Committee, our work and opportunities to participate can still be accessed via the CAAEYC Conference on demand platform through August 31, 2020.

Join the CAAEYC Public Policy Committee

The full CAAEYC Public Policy Committee meets the first Tuesday of each month from 7:00pm – 8:30pm, via Zoom. In addition, there are workgroup meetings each month. The three workgroups are; Legislative Action, Advocacy and Professional Development, and Communications and Outreach. If you have an interest in joining us in this advocacy work, please email us.