ATLANTA — Investing in high-quality child care and expanding access for low-income families are part of guidelines released today by the Biden administration for its nearly $15 billion American Rescue Plan.
Georgia will receive almost $1.5 billion as part of the Child Care and Development Block Grant from the plan to support families, children and child care providers. The guidance comes as child care shortages plague communities due to families returning to work.
The money was provided through two programs, according to a press release from the Biden administration. One program focuses on child care stabilization, helping providers stay open or reopen. Meanwhile, the other focuses on more flexible funding to increase compensation and access.
Georgia received $604 million for flexible funding and $968 million for stabilizing child care programs.
The guidance strongly pushes states to increase payments and compensation for child care workers to help keep programs open. The grant also encourages states to invest in creating high-quality child care for underserved communities as well as expanding access to child care assistance.
According to a press release from the Administration of Children and Families, only 14% of income-eligible children receive assistance thanks to chronic underfunding.
"Even before the COVID-19 public health emergency, chronic underfunding had led to a child care crisis," said Director of the Office of Child Care Ruth Friedman through a press release.
Friedman said that states can use this money to increase availability and affordability, especially for families that faced job losses during the pandemic.
"Child care is critical to our economic recovery," said JooYeun Chang, ACF's assistant secretary, through a press release. "This funding provides the resources that states and communities need to ensure that families can find the child care they need and children can attend programs that support healthy development."