From Mindy Binderman, GEEARS Executive Director

The American bailout plan of 2021, signed by President Biden earlier this month, contains critical and historic measures Reducing child poverty, helping families in difficulty, ensuring the health and wellbeing of children and carers, stabilizing the childcare industry and increasing access to childcare for working families.

The pandemic has placed a considerable strain on American families and led to increasing economic uncertainty. Poverty and stress in early childhood have lifelong effects and affect the future education, health and economic development of children. The American rescue plan will protect young children and their families from the effects of the pandemic, provide the security they need today to thrive, while laying the foundation on which to build with future investments.

The American rescue plan provides $ 39 billion for the childcare industry to support providers, programs and families. Georgia is expected to receive an estimate $ 1.57 billion, according to the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP). The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the Georgian childcare industry. Many programs reported lower revenues, lower enrollments, and higher total costs.

With such a large infusion of federal dollars, the state has an opportunity not only to stabilize the industry, but also to expand access to high quality, affordable childcare for more working parents. Currently, only a fraction of eligible families have access to childcare allowances. Affordable childcare will be a critical part of our economic recovery.

The American Rescue Plan’s Child Poverty Reduction and Family Support provisions include an enhanced, fully refundable child tax credit of $ 3,600 per year for children under the age of six. The Center for Poverty and Social Policy values ​​the tax credit Reduce child poverty in Georgia by up to 38%. The plan also includes funding for paid sick and family vacation benefits, direct stimulus payments, expanded unemployment benefits, family support programs such as home visits and head start, food and housing assistance to cover rental, mortgage and utility deficits.

The plan also includes provisions to improve access to health care for thousands of Georgians. The plan gives states the option to extend Medicaid coverage during pregnancy from 60 days after birth to 12 months. This would pave the way for Georgia’s waiver, which was filed last fall, requesting an extension from 60 days to six months after giving birth. The bill also provides additional Medicaid enhancements, incentives for states to expand Medicaid, and increased tax credits for health insurance policies purchased through the insurance exchange.

GEEARS thanks the Georgian Congress Delegation for recognizing the importance of investing in our youngest and most vulnerable residents, as well as our numerous state and national partners for their tireless advocacy for young children and their families. We also recognize the tireless Georgians who stood up for them on behalf of their children, neighbors and friends through many phone calls, letters, emails and action notifications. Your efforts have paid off.

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