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What’s in the HEALS Act for Babies?

On July 27th, the Senate Majority introduced a package of legislation under the umbrella of the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act that would provide $1 trillion in funding focused mainly on business and economic recovery, but does little to meet the growing needs of families experiencing the health and economic pressures of COVID-19.

ZERO TO THREE examined the HEALS Act from the standpoint of critical needs identified for babies and families and found it omits–or does not adequately address–key provisions needed to support families with young children such as: comprehensive support for the child care system that meets the need economists estimate to be $50 billion; expansion of paid family and medical leave and paid sick days during and after the pandemic; adequate support for families with young children who are both physically and socially isolated, including a recommended $1 billion for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention program; emergency rental assistance to support families in remaining housed as well as an extension to the federal eviction moratorium; and boosts to the minimum and maximum SNAP benefits. Each of these provisions would help families get back to work and meet their basic needs during this unprecedented time.

The science of child development tells us that babies’ experiences during this crisis will profoundly shape their lives. Since the passage of Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, ZERO TO THREE has continued to hear directly from families with infants and toddlers, as well as child care providers, about their experiences coping with financial worries and family stress. We also have been drawing on the Rapid Early Childhood Survey, which provides an invaluable window to the experiences of families with young children during this crisis.

Download the full analysis below which highlights components of the HEALS Act that will ultimately affect the nation’s ability to sustain the child care systemboost families’ economic securitysupport strong families and strong social-emotional health, and meet families’ basic needs during the pandemic and beyond, on the nation’s road to recovery.


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