This is Our Moment: Transforming Child Care through the American Rescue Plan and Cross-Sector Partner Engagement

April 30, 2021
| By Katie Hamm, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Early Childhood Development
toddler playing with toys while instructor holds baby

Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve heard from countless child care providers who have gone to enormous lengths to keep their doors open, using personal credit cards; dipping into personal savings; and even forgoing a salary themselves to pay staff. And they’ve done this while risking their own health to care for our country’s children. Essential work happened throughout the pandemic only because our child care providers made personal sacrifices.

Now, we finally have the resources to provide the financial support that child care providers have needed for over a year. Last month, the president signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) of 2021 which included the largest single investment in child care. These funds will support child care providers while revenue is down and help families afford child care during this difficult time. ARP provides $39 billion for child care, including $24 billion for a new Child Care Stabilization Fund and $15 billion in additional funding for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) grants to states, territories, and tribes. ARP also includes $1 billion for Head Start programs. 

On April 15, 2021, ACF released the funding to states, tribes and territories. This is our moment to make sure these landmark investments transform and build back a system of child care and early childhood education that truly meets the needs of children, parents and providers.

In order to ensure these investments reach those who need it as quickly as possible, the Office of Early Childhood Development and the Administration for Children and Families are taking action by partnering with states, tribes, territories and communities to provide the guidance and technical assistance they need to spend the funding wisely. We are also announcing our commitment to work with our federal partners through our Early Childhood Health and Well-being Leadership Group to align our efforts, leverage resources and encourage our grantees to partner across sectors to prioritize child care and early childhood development through our collective ARP investments.

To ensure transparency and solicit ongoing feedback from providers, parents, and communities, starting in May, ECD will launch a broad-based and inclusive stakeholder engagement strategy. This will include a monthly electronic newsletter ECD: The Latest, and a monthly webinar ECD: The Latest Live. These tools will provide the latest updates on  ARP guidance and implementation, share innovative strategies, resources and technical assistance, and include parent and provider voices from the field. The monthly webinar will be a live forum for ACF leadership to share progress on implementation and respond to questions that have been submitted. Participants will be able to submit questions to be answered during the webinar. 

This is our moment. Our country’s economic recovery will require cross-sector partnerships and engaging families, providers and communities. We need your help to build back a more equitable child care and early childhood infrastructure system that meets the needs of children and families and the early childhood workforce serving them.

To register for ECD: The Latest Live webinar on May 11, visit: https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_GvTnJfO5QJKkbkezH_bQIw Visit disclaimer page .

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