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Recognizing the essential role of child care — its proven benefits to a child’s learning and healthy development and its support of America’s labor market and economy by allowing parents to work or attend school — the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic has included assistance to young children, their families, and the child care providers who care for them. For example, Phase 1, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, included $20 million in additional Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loans and provided immediate funding for the domestic and global response to COVID-19.

Phase 2, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide paid sick and family leave. In return, employers and self-employed individuals are eligible for a refundable tax credit to offset the costs of such leave. Phase 2 also expanded unemployment benefits and food assistance.

On March 27, 2020, Congress passed Phase 3, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided substantial support to various sectors of the economy, including to small businesses and direct financial assistance to Americans. While the CARES Act included significant support for small businesses, including the new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the funds to support small businesses were depleted by April 16th. Acknowledging the importance of small businesses, on April 23, 2020, Congress again took action and passed Phase 3.5, the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. This legislation changed some rules for the PPP as well as providing additional funding for the PPP, emergency disaster grants, and the health care sector while leaving much of the CARES Act unchanged. 

More recently, the House passed the HEROES Act, which includes substantial aid to states and localities, as well as direct assistance to Americans, on May 15, 2020. The Senate’s “Phase 4” proposal, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protections, and Schools (HEALS) Act, was introduced July 27, 2020, and incorporates the following:

  • Coronavirus Response Additional Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 
  • American Workers, Families, and Employers Assistance Act 
  • Safely Back to School and Back to Work Act
  • Continuing Small Business Recovery and PPP Act
  • Safeguarding America’s Frontline Employees To Offer Work Opportunities Required to Kickstart the Economy (SAFE TO WORK) Act
  • Restoring Critical Supply Chains and Intellectual Property Act (not summarized in this resource)

This resource shows provisions that support young children, their families, and child care providers in enacted legislation in response to COVID-19, as well as relevant provisions from the HEROES Act and the HEALS Act.



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