This week, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Department of Treasury released guidance to aid states, territories, and tribes in spending relief funds provided by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ACF guidance explains specific requirements for the $24 billion in child care stabilization grant funds provided by the ARPA to help maintain the pre-pandemic supply of child care.
Katie Hamm, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood Development at ACF, said: “The guidance is key to getting funds into the hands of providers that employ essential workers and help make child care accessible to working families. These funds will help stabilize the industry and spur economic growth in communities hit hardest by the pandemic. Most of these funds will go to providers and can be used for a variety of operating expenses, including wages and benefits, rent and utilities, personal protective equipment, and sanitization and cleaning.”
The Department of Treasury guidance follows the launch of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, $350 billion in emergency funding authorized by the ARPA, which will be available directly to state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments in the coming days. Jurisdictions have flexibility in deciding how best to spend these funds to meet their local needs, however, the guidance notes they may be used to meet pandemic-response needs, fill revenue deficits, and support the communities most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Specific to early learning and care, the guidance allows funds to be used to address educational disparities through new or expanded early learning services and to promote healthy childhood environments, including new or expanded high quality child care and home visiting programs for families with young children, among other uses.
The ACF and Treasury guidance are valuable tools as states, territories, and tribes begin allocating funds and providing critical relief to families who rely on child care and to a child care industry that would have collapsed without an infusion of emergency funding. Read the guidance from ACF here and from the Department of Treasury here.