THE LATEST: COVID-19 PACKAGE WITH $39 BILLION IN CHILD CARE RELIEF PASSES HOUSE IN WEEKEND VOTE: Early Saturday morning, the House of Representatives voted to pass the American Rescue Plan, a sweeping pandemic relief package with $39 billion in child care relief funding, including $15 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program and $24 billion for a child care stabilization fund. Additionally, the relief package includes $1 billion for Head Start programs and other measures directed at families with young children. Read more about the relief package here.

BECERRA HEARINGS: Last week, child care and early learning were in the spotlight during Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra’s recent Senate confirmation hearings. During his opening remarks to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) and the Senate Finance Committees, Becerra singled out the Head Start program and child care as key priorities should he be confirmed. Read FFYF’s recap of the hearing here.

CNN: ‘Powell Says Better Child Care Policies Might Lift Women in Workforce’: “Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, testified before Congress  that a greater investment in child care would have a positive impact – particularly for women: “We used to lead the world in female labor force participation a quarter-century ago and we no longer do. And it may be that those [child care] policies have put us behind.”.

CNBC: ‘Many child-care workers don’t earn a living wage—and that was the case even before the pandemic’: “Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the average early childhood worker earned just $11.65 an hour, according to the biennial 2020 Early Childhood Workforce Index from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. Tuesday’s report finds that child-care workers earn enough to cover their basic needs in only 10 states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.”

IN THE STATES: Hawaii preschools are seeing declines in enrollment and available seats due to the pandemic. Pennsylvania’s child care providers say they’re still struggling to survive amid COVID-related revenue losses and aid cuts from the state. Nearly three out of four California parents with children 5 and under are worried their education and development will suffer because of the pandemic, according to a new survey. 

BE SMART: UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CHILD TAX CREDIT AND THE CHILD CARE TAX CREDIT — AND WHY WE NEED BOTH: While there are a handful of tax credits and deductions within the tax code that support families with children, the only provision in the tax code created specifically to help families with the cost of child care is the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) – often referred to as the child care tax credit. As negotiations for another stimulus package continue, refer to this helpful primer on the difference between CDCTC and the Child Tax Credit.

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