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Tag Archive: stimulus package

  1. Stabilize Child Care with the CARES Act Stimulus

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    As COVID-19 continues to present challenges to the child care community, we are looking for ways tht  policymakers can respond. On March 27th, Congress included $3.5 billion in additional resources for child care programs in the stimulus package, the CARES Act. This will result in an additional $67 million for Virginia allocated to our Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG).

    Virginia uses federal CCDBG dollars to support child care subsidy, licensing and quality improvement. States have a lot of choices to make with these federal dollars, and a lot of flexibility to meet the needs of working families and child care programs.

    The stimulus provides additional flexibility with an emphasis on responding to the COVID-19 crisis. Funds can now be used to:

    1. Continue payment for child care subsidy upon decreased enrollment or temporary closure.
    2. Provide financial assistance for child care regardless of income for essential personnel such as health care workers and emergency responders.
    3. Purchase emergency cleaning supplies and sanitation activities in response to COVID-19.

    Virginia policymakers must make decisions about how these additional funds will be used. Voices has heard from home-based family child care providers, nonprofits,and center-based providers that there is an immediate need to ensure that these financial resources are available to support the child care community.

    Child care stakeholders shared their feedback with Voices. Advocates ask that the state use federal Child Care and Development Block Grant dollars to:

    • Continue to pay the state’s portion of financial assistance for income eligible families who choose not to send their children to care in line with stay-at-home orders or for child care programs that choose to close. The state should act to continue to pay providers at least for March and April.
      • The existing caseload for child care assistance payments would already be accounted for in the current state funds before the recent federal increase.
      • Providers needing to pay staff or pay rent/overhead were anticipating to receive these state payments during March and April and will now not receive that revenue unless Virginia acts to support child care programs.
      • In the cases where programs are open but parents are choosing to keep their children at home, currently the state requires the parent to call their child care program every day to report the absence. This is an onerous task on parents during a stressful time and makes the income more unpredictable for providers.

     

    • Pay a differential to programs modifying their practices to serve children safely.
      • As many child care programs modify their practices to implement rigorous cleaning protocols and provide safe care for children they have encountered additional costs. From the costs for additional thermometers and staff to screen children, to cleaning supplies and additional cleaning staff, to pay differentials for staff who are putting their own health and safety at risk, center-based programs estimate an additional $75 per child, per day to modify their practices.
      • While the federal funds provide additional resources, it is the state’s option as to what type of differential to offer and which programs qualify. Other states have controlled this by determining which programs would remain open and asking families to qualify as essential personnel. Some states have paid a weekly stipend to programs serving essential personnel while others have increased child care subsidy rates for participating providers.

     

    • Provide funding and resources to access personal protective gear and cleaning supplies to ensure the safety of the child care workforce in programs that remain open.
      • Many early childhood educators work in the field because they love working with children. However, even the most dedicated workforce will have some fears and concerns about working in close proximity with children every day, uncertain if they have been exposed to Coronavirus.

    While there are difficult choices to make, one choice is simple: Virginia must support child care programs now or we risk them closing and not being able to re-open.

    Where the state can act to stabilize the child care industry it should and should act quickly. Continuing to pay providers that serve economically disadvantaged families, and offering additional resources to programs following more rigorous safety protocols, are essential steps to support the child care industry.

    Join us in asking the state to prioritize a swift response to stabilize child care providers. Please share this message with your state and local elected officials. 

  2. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act In Your Community

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    The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27th to create a $2 trillion economic stimulus efforts for business, health care, communities, and families. Implementing the CARES Act will provide direct relief to some families and businesses. And it will require a number of policy choices by state and local leaders to determine how funds will be used in communities and which of the many pressing needs will be met. Learn more about what is included in the CARES Act to prepare to speak up for the needs of children and families.

    This chart shows how the $2 trillion economic stimulus impacts various sectors. We have posted a blog on the impacts on individuals. In this blog, we highlight the impacts on public health, the safety net and economic security.  

    How the CARES Act will impact your community:

    Federal, State, and Local Public Health Agencies

    $140.4 billion in funding is allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services. $127 billion goes to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, which encompasses $100 billion for grants to hospitals, public entities, non-profits and Medicare-and-Medicaid-enrolled suppliers and institutional providers to cover unreimbursed healthcare expenses or lost revenue. Additional funding includes:

    • $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile funding to help secure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other medical supplies.
    • $11 billion for vaccine diagnostics and other medical needs.
    • $4.3 billion through the CDC  to federal, state, and local public health agencies to respond to COVID-19.
    • $425 million to SAMHSA for treatment mental health and substance use disorders as a result of COVID-19 pandemic with certified community behavioral health clinics receiving $250 million, including $50 million for suicide prevention and $100 million in flexible funding allotted to mental health, substance use disorders and providing resources to youth and the homeless during this time.
    • $275 million to expand capacity for rural hospitals, telehealth, poison control centers.

    Child Care 

    The child care industry serves as the backbone of the economy to support working parents under normal circumstances. Today, these providers offer a safe place for essential workers. The National Association for the Education of Young Children COVID19 response survey found that 30% of the 6,000 providers surveyed would be able to survive a closure of more than two weeks without support.  The CARES Act includes $6.3 billion to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), including $3.5 billion in emergency funding through the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which allows states to provide critical relief to childcare providers. This will allow states to use funding to:

    • Provide continued payments to child care providers in response to decreased enrollment or closures.
    • Provide child care assistance regardless of income to healthcare employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers classified as essential during the pandemic.
    • Provide funding to child care providers who did not participate in subsidy prior to COVID-19 emergency for cleaning and sanitation and other activities needed to resume program operation.

    Virginia will receive approximately $67 million in child care assistance funds.

    Human Services

    The stimulus provided minimal to moderate assistance in other areas of human services including:

    • ACF increases child welfare service flexibility by providing $45 million in federal grants to states to support child welfare services for family violence prevention services, including shelters.
    • $1 billion to the Community Services Block Grant to help local community-based organizations provide social services and emergency assistance.
    • $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help manage costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, and weatherization and energy related minor home repairs.
    • $2 million for the Domestic Violence Hotline.
    • $25 million to provide assistance to runaway and homeless youth.

    Economic Stimulus Funding to States, Territories, Local and Tribal Governments

    One area that will take additional analysis to better understand and implement is the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, local and tribal governments. Virginia is estimated to receive $3.3 billion to use at the state and local level for a number of flexible purposes. Localities with populations over 500,000 people can receive up to 45% of Virginia’s total allocation.

    Funding is intended to be utilized for costs that:

    • Are necessary expenditures related to COVID-19.
    • Were unaccounted for in the most recently approved budget as of the date of the passing legislation.
    • Incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

    Voices is monitoring how local governments are responding to these difficult economic choices. These stimulus funds will not solve all the problems and stresses now impacting Virginia’s children and families or the local and state government leaders wishing to respond.

    Learn more about how the Congress has taken action to ease families financial burdens on our companion blog.