Organization urges Senate to swiftly enact legislation that protects infants, toddlers, and their families
WASHINGTON — This morning, the House of Representatives passed the American Rescue Plan to help families nationwide weather the COVID-19 pandemic. ZERO TO THREE, the country’s leading early childhood development nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life, hailed the passage of this sweeping pandemic aid package. The nonprofit urged the Senate to quickly enact this legislation in order to properly address the needs of families and their children.
ZERO TO THREE Chief Policy Officer Dr. Myra Jones-Taylor stated:
“COVID-19 has reshaped our lives and the lives of our children for just shy of one year. Families have been forced to get by on sporadic support while waiting for real, substantial help to ensure their children have what they need to thrive. We cannot overstate the difference this financial and material support will make for millions of babies and toddlers nationwide. This relief will provide families with young children with a critical lifeline, particularly Black and Brown families who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
“We are especially pleased that the House bill includes a provision to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, which would boost families’ economic security and help more parents and caregivers meet children’s basic needs. Mothers with children under three disproportionately work in jobs with low wages, throwing many of them into poverty. Though this provision will not be included in the Senate’s version of the bill, we hope Congress will come together and pass a law increasing our nation’s minimum wage and improving the economic security of families with young children.”
The American Rescue Plan was originally proposed by President Biden in advance of his January inauguration. This package makes several key advances that ZERO TO THREE and other leading advocates have argued are needed to support families and the child care system in America.
The aid package approved by the House would:
- Provide $40 billion for child care which, together with the funding provided in December, would meet the $50 billion needed to shore up the system and reflect the level of needed support identified and promoted by the early childhood community, advocates, and parents across the country;
- Increase families’ economic security with $1,400 per person direct payments alongside a year of fully refundable Child Tax Credits with an enhanced credit of $3,600 a year for young children;
- Boost funding for housing assistance to meet rent, mortgage, and utility shortfalls as families face eviction;
- Provide $500 million for supporting families feeling the isolation of the pandemic through increased family resource and home visiting programs and expanded child abuse prevention;
- Provide an option to states to expand Medicaid coverage for women up to 12 months post-partum; and
- Extend tax credits to employers for providing emergency paid leave and paid sick days.
About ZERO TO THREE
ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all babies and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/ZEROTOTHREE or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.