As the nation begins to take more action against COVID-19, we wanted to make sure you stay updated on the latest information as it affects our children, families, and communities. Please find below a lot of information about federal legislation being discussed to address the pandemic, webinars to talk about disaster preparedness, and resources to ensure you have information at your fingertips to address issues in your own communities.
1 | How is COVID-19 impacting you and your community?
As we advocate for better, more comprehensive aid for child care and early learning program, we want to hear from you about how the spread of COVID-19 is affecting child care providers, educators, and families with child care needs across the country. These stories are an incredibly important advocacy tool for lobbying congress and spreading awareness, so if you have examples of the impact to share, please send them to Jennifer Rackliff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 | Webinar: Bracing for COVID-19: What Early Childhood Programs Need to Know and Consider Now
On March 20, 2020, at 2:00 pm ET, Early Childhood Investigations will be hosting a webinar to explore all aspects of disaster preparedness including policies and procedures, health considerations, and the long term consequences of possible program closures. Learn more online.
3 | Resources available from the Institute for Childhood Preparedness
The Institute for Childhood Preparedness has a host of online resources on COVID-19 which are free to use and free to share. Don't forget to wash your hands and check back for additional resources as the situation continues to evolve.
4 | Emergency Stimulus Package
Today, the House passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act in response to the President’s calling this pandemic a national emergency. You can read the full text here and a summary here. The Senate has canceled its scheduled recess next week to focus on reaching an emergency stimulus package deal in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Congress and the White House are close to reaching a deal, and though specific details have not yet been released, the package is said to include enhanced unemployment benefits, free virus testing, and additional aid for food and nutrition assistance programs. The package will also have 14 days of paid sick leave and tax credits to help smaller businesses afford the requirement. Negotiations are still underway and exact provisions are subject to change until a final bill text is released to the public. In the meantime, please call your senators and ask them to pass the current House package, which includes paid sick leave, free testing, and additional funding for food and nutrition assistance programs. It is also a great opportunity to note that a second package should include investments directly in child care and early learning, housing assistance, and other supports that were not included in this current package.
5 | CCDF Recovery Flexibilities
The Administration for Children and Families has released materials to help Lead Agencies understand the flexibilities in the CCDF law as they try to help meet the needs of families and communities in response to the spread of COVID-19. Options available to State, Territory, and Tribal Lead Agencies include:
Flexibility to change eligibility or priority criteria to permit uninterrupted child care
Flexibility to define income and set the income threshold for purposes of CCDF eligibility
Option to waive family co-payment requirements for families that meet criteria established by the Lead Agency – which may include, for example, families impacted by federal or state declared emergency situations
Option to use quality dollars to provide immediate assistance to impacted families, including families that do not participate in CCDF
States may also enact legislation or regulation in order to take advantage of these flexibilities. States may also need to submit a Plan amendment or waiver request to the Office of Child Care. Click here to access ACF’s full memo on CCDF flexibility during state or federal emergencies. In addition, ACF has released a letter with updated resources and information about administrative relief strategies, as well as a list of FAQs about CCDF and COVID-19.
6 | Head Start/Early Head Start Disaster Recovery Flexibilities
The Administration for Children and Families and the Office of Head Start have already released guidance on the flexibility of states and Head Start providers in meeting the needs of children, families and staff during and after a disaster. Click here to access the Administration for Children and Families’ memo to learn more about Head Start’s disaster recovery flexibilities, particularly in terms of local decision making authority and rebudgeting.
7 | Child Care Aware of America: COVID-19 Resource Page
CCAoA has released an incredibly helpful resource page on COVID-19. The page includes specific resources for resource and referral agencies, providers, parents and policymakers, as well as a form to share your story of how COVID-19 has impacted your community. Click here to access the page.
8 | The coronavirus will cause a child care crisis in America, an article in Vox
Click here to access a Vox article that summarizes how COVID-19 is already impacting schools and child care facilities, and what policies some states and cities already have in place to support the child care workforce