A Statement on the Passage of the Historic American Rescue Plan
The American Rescue Plan will provide $39 billion in new federal funds for child care, and a child tax credit that promises to cut child poverty in half in the coming year. That is nothing short of amazing, unprecedented, and if we’re honest, overwhelming.
As an alliance of state and national organizations working to improve outcomes for young children, we are grateful to the members of Congress who made this happen. Thank you for recognizing both the impact of the pandemic on child well-being and the child care industry as an essential part of economic infrastructure. We couldn’t agree more.
And, we must take this opportunity to build an effective and equitable child care system that both provides reliable support for working parents and delivers the care and education that lays a strong foundation for our society and our future workforce.
Last September, the Alliance for Early Success released the Build Stronger Child Care Policy Roadmap as a path to the future—one that does not return us to the pre-pandemic status quo, but builds a stronger system, and by extension, strengthens our nation’s families and economy. Yesterday, we released the Child Care NEXT request for proposals to select up to five states ready to mount long-term campaigns to achieve transformational change in their child care policies and funding. We know states are ready to take up the challenge because we received 62 letters of interest from 37 states.
We have also launched a new Rescue and Relief Resources Center with lots of information on how states CAN and ARE using relief funds. We welcome posts to the listserv that demonstrate how states are being bold and creative in their use of the federal funds. We will add these examples to the resource center.
Yes, the American Rescue Plan provides relief for families. And yes, it will rescue the child care industry from collapse. But we must lean into building stronger. The child care industry was broken before the pandemic, and state leaders cannot simply use these new resources available to states – on the scale of seven times pre-pandemic levels of funding for child care – to build back to the status quo. That would be a failure.
To all elected officials, agency staff, advocates, business leaders, and philanthropy: now is the time to think big and act boldly; to resist austerity narratives about one-time funding; to complement the federal commitment with state investments. As one of our state allies put it, this is not the time to resuscitate the old jalopy. Now is the time to build a new engine in order to drive future investments in children and child care.