On July 29, The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act (H.R. 7327) by a vote of 250 to 161 and the Child Care Is Essential Act (H.R. 7027) by a vote of 249 to 163, bills that would provide relief to child care providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, the bills would make more than $100 billion in short and long-term investments in the child care sector to increase the supply of high quality, affordable child care and expand access to child care for low-income families.
Counties play a significant role in licensing child care providers, offering child care assistance to low income residents, referring families to child care resources and providing local funding to help build the supply of child care. In at least eight states, counties play a significant role in administering the federal child care assistance program—the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), providing child care subsidies to low income residents and often providing local funding to help build the quality and supply of child care.
The COVID-19 crisis has increased the shortage of quality, affordable child care for workers, while counties across the country are experiencing economic shortfalls as efforts to contain and address COVID-19 breaks budgets, likely resulting in widespread cuts to social services. Providing emergency child care for essential workers has proved a critical component of supporting the many county employees serving on the front lines of the pandemic response. Meanwhile, local economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis hinges on the ability of many county residents to access child care so that they can return to work.
The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act and Child Care is Essential Act seek to address the impacts of the pandemic and stabilize the child care industry. They provide emergency funding increases within the mandatory and discretionary portions of the Child Care and Development Fund, respectively. The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act would further seek to increase access to high quality, affordable child care through payroll tax incentives for employers, increases and expanded access to the child and dependent care tax credit, and investments in child care facility improvements with an emphasis on meeting new health and safety standards.
More details about these and other legislative proposals to address the COVID-19 child care crisis can be found in NACo’s legislative brief.
NACo continues to support direct, flexible aid to local and state governments in the next COVID-19 relief package as well as targeted investments in child care programs. We will continue to monitor legislation pertaining to child care services as Congress considers a fifth relief package.
- Summary of the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act
- The Child Care for Economic Recovery Act Section-by-Section Summary
- NACo Brief: Legislative Proposals to Address the COVID-19 Child Care Crisis
- NACo Blog: NACo joins more than 2,500 groups to call for increased food assistance to respond to COVID-19
- NACo Blog: Congress Introduces Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020
- NACo Blog: President Trump Signs Executive Order on Strengthening the Child Welfare System