BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: Stabilizing child care requires more than emergency COVID-19 relief funds: “For many child-care providers, COVID-19 has led to large enrollment drops, heightened costs, and staffing challenges. For some, it has meant closure. Emergency stabilization funds to mitigate the pandemic’s immediate damage are an important first step. But returning to a pre-coronavirus baseline would not be enough to create a stable child-care sector that adequately supports kids and families.” Read more from the Brown Center Chalkboard here.

REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS AGREE ON CHILD CARE RELIEF: At a hearing today on proposed relief for child care providers included in the American Rescue Plan, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle acknowledged the need to prioritize support for child care and early learning. Even as one of the witnesses, AEI’s Katharine Stevens, made the odd assertion that there is no “pandemic-caused crisis in child care,” Subcommittee Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) made clear, “The child care industry was hit especially hard by COVID-19. Prioritizing funding for child care & providing options to parents has been something both Republicans and Democrats have long supported.”

USA TODAY: AFTER MASS CLOSURES AND TOO LITTLE SUPPORT, POST-PANDEMIC CHILD CARE OPTIONS WILL BE SCARCE: “Many thousands of child care providers…are caught in the unworkable math of pandemic child care: Too few tuition-paying children to support the needed staff. Too many new expenses required to keep the doors open safely. Too few loans and grants available to help bridge the gap for the mostly female small business owners who provide the bulk of the nation’s child care.

“These effects have been especially stark in communities of color. Child care workers are disproportionately women of color, thousands of whom have continued working with minimal protection while many thousands more lost their jobs. Affordable, quality child care was already scarce in Latino and Native communities, according to research on child care deserts by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. And while less likely to live in child care deserts, median-income Black families already pay a larger share of their income on child care than other groups, the center found.”

NYT: 2.5 Million Women Left the Work Force During the Pandemic. Harris Sees a ‘National Emergency.’: “For many women, the demands of child care, coupled with layoffs and furloughs in an economy hit hard by the pandemic, has forced them out of the labor market. But as Rep. Rosa DeLauro noted, the current relief proposal should not be thought of as a “Band-Aid” fix, but instead the first step in a longer process to reduce child poverty, reform the child care industry and expand family leave policies. “There is no normal to go back to,” Ms. DeLauro said. “What we ought to be doing is thinking about how we deal with transformational change.”

BIPARTISAN, BICAMERAL SUPPORT FOR CHILD CARE RELIEF: Recognizing the essential role of child care for children, working families, and the economy, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to prioritize funding and other relief opportunities for child care providers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, every major federal pandemic recovery package has included dedicated funding for child care. Read FFYF’s timeline of every major COVID-19 recovery proposals and the provisions aimed at supporting child care providers, along with Congressional letters and resolutions calling for significant child care relief funding here

FROM OUR PARTNERS: New Report Offers Recommendations for Dismantling Systemic Racism in Early Care and Education: A new resource from the Children’s Equity Project offers 14 critical priorities and actionable policies that federal and state policymakers can immediately and concretely utilize to advance equity in the early care and education system. Read more here.

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.

Be sure to subscribe to FFYF’s daily early learning and care news clips report for the latest stories from across the nation, right in your inbox. We will continue sharing news and analysis with you as it happens.