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American Rescue Plan Act of 2021: Opportunities for stabilizing the most fragile part of the child care market— infant and toddler care

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ARPA provides nearly $24 billion in child-care stabilization funds; states must distribute their allocations by September 30, 2023. These funds are stipulated for use in implementing grant programs that support child-care providers, including covering expenses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and assisting families struggling to make copayments or tuition payments. This funding offers an opportunity to stabilize infant/toddler care. This Field Note provides justification for dedicating some of the funds to infant/toddler care, offers three preliminary ideas developed for stabilizing this critical support, and describes the utility of these approaches in demonstrating the possible impacts of public investment in the sector. While the ARPA funds are insufficient for supporting the long-term systems change required for equitable access to high-quality child care, they represent an opportunity to test modifications for informing future systems-change efforts. For instance, there is hesitation among providers regarding time-limited funds because of concern that such funds would not allow for sustainable change; however, the months of reliable funding that the ARPA funds would provide could help make a case for continued funding. (author abstract)

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Other
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Country:
United States

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