Today, NAEYC is grateful to Congress for taking an important, bipartisan step to provide that support with the passage of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act. There are critical provisions that will help multiple parts of the complex early childhood education sector, addressing some of the needs expressed by parents, educators, programs, and small businesses across states and settings, including:
- $3.5 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to ensure continued payment and assistance to child care providers and to support child care for essential workers;
- $750 million in grants for Head Start, including up to $500 million for support of summer programs;
- Access to small business loans of up to $10 million that can be forgiven, if programs use the loans for specific purposes such as wages, paid sick or family leave, health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, mortgages or rent, or utilities;
- Direct payments to qualifying taxpayers of up to $1,200 ($2,400 for couples), plus an additional $500 per child;
- Access to a pandemic unemployment insurance benefit for four months, on top of the regular unemployment insurance benefit offered by states to qualifying individuals;
- Suspension of payments on federally-held student loans to support the many early childhood educators earning their degrees and credentials.