Since the Children’s Defense Fund last published our annual State of America’s Children report in February 2020, our children have experienced a year of unprecedented upheaval due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a racial reckoning years in the making. Every aspect of children’s lives has been impacted by these shifts more quickly than data can track; even the most recent available data sets do not fully encompass how this past year has shaped our lives. This, of course, includes our 2021 State of America’s Children report. Because, as one element of the report makes clear, “Our Children are Not Immune.”
Regulations play an important role in implementing a wide range of HHS policies and programs serving children and families, including child care, substance use treatment, child welfare, food safety, and health care. CDF is very concerned that the proposed rule will disrupt the ability of the Department of Health and Human Services to efficiently administer critical programs and services for children and families and should be withdrawn immediately.
The HEALS Act’s $15 billion investment would keep the system afloat for less than two months and falls far short of the at least $50 billion that is needed to stabilize the system. We urge you to provide at least $50 billion in funding for child care in the next relief package to meet the needs of child care providers, educators, and parents and to reflect the essential role child care plays in supporting our public health response now and our recovery from this crisis.
Leading Child Development Organizations Urge Congress to Provide Head Start with Needed Funding Amid COVID-19
Amidst the challenges of COVID-19, we urge your support of $1.7 billion in supplemental funding to provide Head Start with the necessary resources to maintain high-quality program delivery in communities across our country. For families struggling to make ends meet, toiling away to finish a degree, or searching for stable work, COVID-19 has been an emotional and economic blow, bringing with it a daunting response and recovery process. Fortunately, in all of our communities and especially during this pandemic, Head Start and Early Head Start programs have stepped up to ensure nearly one million children are receiving basic care, new mothers are buttressed against this storm, early learning is advanced, and families living on the edge are surrounded with support.
The HEROES Act, introduced yesterday in the House, includes critical supports to stabilize families and communities -- including expansions in access to paid sick and family leave, getting cash to families, additional nutrition benefits, and investments in housing assistance -- yet the legislation falls woefully short on support for child care.
Congress take immediate and comprehensive action to ensure equal educational opportunity during the COVID-19 public health crisis and beyond. Long term closures of early childhood settings, K12 schools, and college campuses, necessary to protect the safety and health of communities, have significantly exacerbated longstanding inequities in our educational system. Leadership and action from Congress can, and must, minimize the harm to marginalized students as long as COVID-19 continues to threaten the public health.
Nearly 400 Organizations Call for a Boost in Funding for Needed Services in the Labor-HHS-Education Bill
We believe that the long-term impact of COVID-19 and the outcomes of future pandemics will be catastrophic if we do not provide robust investments through annual appropriations. Therefore, we urge Congress to commit to improving the lives of Americans by significantly boosting the allocation for the Labor-HHS-Education bill for FY 2021 to support needed services for the American public.
The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is a proven key source of support to help communities respond to critical needs in national disasters and an important tool in times of recession because it can provide assistance to cash-strapped states, territories, and counties quickly. We urged Congress to increase funding to the SSBG by $4.1 billion to respond to the growing needs of older people, children and families, and people with disabilities in the midst of COVID-19.
Child care is an essential need for millions of children and families, and it will continue to be the backbone of our economy both during and after this crisis, but only if additional funding is provided to keep it afloat. In order to protect and preserve our child care system for child care providers, workers, and the children and families they serve, we urge lawmakers to provide at least $50 billion in aid targeted to the child care sector.
As Congress creates packages to response to COVID-19, we strongly urge increased support for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) to respond to the most vulnerable—our nation’s older adults, children and families, and people with disabilities. people with disabilities.