Following a year of persistent advocacy, substanial support is finally on its way to the early education and care sector, students from preschool through college, and families who have persevered in the face of challenges presented during the COVID pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 reaffirms national support of early education and care by providing an additional $24 billion in grants to offset costs related to opperating safely during COVID and in tuition relief for families. A further $15 billion in Child Care and Development Block Grant funding is included to susidize childcare costs for low-income families, as well as an increase in the Child Care Entitlement to States and $1 billion to Head Start programming.
“COVID-19 has exacerbated the preexisting systemic inequities that Jumpstart combats in our direct service programming and policy advocacy,” said Jumpstart CEO Naila Bolus. “The inclusion of nearly $45 billion in direct funding to increase access and affordability to childcare and early education centers for children from low-income backgrounds is both historic and vital in beginning to address the learning opportunity loss among our youngest learners.”
In addition, the package included a nearly $1 billion investment in national service programming boosting AmeriCorps’s capacity to continue to identify gaps and address community needs. Jumpstart has been an AmeriCorps partner for over two decades. With their support, we have been able to recruit and train over 55,000 college Corps Members (CMs) in 15 states to serve more than 150,000 children.
“Throughout the pandemic, Jumpstart’s Corps Members have continued to serve, utilizing innovative approaches to connect with young learners. The investment into national service, and AmeriCorps specifially, will allow our Corps Members to maintain and expand the scope and impact of their work,” said Naila Bolus.
Additional measures critical to supporting the Jumpstart community include:
- Expansion of the Child Tax Credit to $3,600 for each child younger than 6 and $3,000 for other children up to and including 17-year-olds
- The Child Tax Credit is amended to be fully, rather than partially, refundable
- Expansion of the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit up to $4,000 for one child/dependent and $8,000 for two or more
- $250 million for IDEA Early Intervention programming
- $7.5 billion increased lending authority to the Paycheck Protection Program
- $1.5 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative for businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people
- 15% increase to SNAP benefits through September
- $490 million for WIC through September & $390 million to increase outreach and participation
- Extension of the Pandemic EBT program during a designated health emergency
“Combined, these investments help ensure families in the greatest need have the support necessary to survive the ongoing pandemic and increase access to vital services,” stated Naila. “Early education, food security, and healthcare are not commodities; they are human necessities and it’s past time our nation’s leaders start treating them as such.”
ABOUT JUMPSTART FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
Jumpstart is a national early education organization working toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed. Jumpstart advances equitable learning outcomes for young children in underserved communities by recruiting and supporting caring adults to deliver high-quality programming to children and drive systems change through teaching, advocacy, and leadership. Jumpstart is also a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. Learn more at jstart.org and follow us on Twitter at @Jumpstartkids.