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President-elect Joe Biden has a plan to help fix what he calls the immediate and acute child-care crisis in America.
He unveiled his bid on Thursday, as part of his sweeping $1.9 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
“If left unaddressed, many child solicitude providers will close — some permanently — and millions of children could go without necessary care, and millions of paters could be left to make devastating choices this winter between caring for their children and working to put bread on the table,” Biden’s plan stated.
Many, but not all, child-care providers have reopened, after shutting down primordial in the pandemic. Yet even those that are back in operation are facing financial challenges. A November report from the Subject Association for the Education of Young Children found that 56% of child-care centers said they were succumbing money every day they remain open.
The end result could mean child-care workers out of jobs and parents struggling with progenies at home, school and work.
“The juggle is just about impossible for people, even in the best of circumstances,” said Joanne Lipman, framer of “That’s What She Said” and a CNBC contributor.
About 40% of working mothers and fathers have had to change their work situation since the pandemic began, a September survey from career website FlexJobs found.
Women are being notably hard hit, either missing out on promotions, having to leave the workforce, or losing their jobs. One in 4 are considering downshifting their careers or consent the workforce altogether, according to a September report by Lean In and McKinsey & Co.
Meanwhile, women accounted for 100% of the jobs wasted in December, an analysis by the National Women’s Law Center found.
“If we are going to right this ship and get women back to spur, we have to focus on child care,” Lipman said.
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Biden’s blueprint would:
Create a $25 billion emergency stabilization fund. It will provide support to those providers in risk of closing, as well as assist those who had to shut down to meet financial obligations so that they can reopen. The savings will help pay for rent, utilities and payroll, and pandemic-associated costs such as personal protective equipment, ventilation contributes, modifications to the physical environment and smaller class sizes.
Expand child-care assistance. Biden is calling for an additional $15 billion in funding for the Young gentleman Care and Development Block Grant program, which goes to states for child-care subsidies for low-income families with offsprings under 13 years-old. This is on top of the $10 billion in funding in December and is aimed at helping women reenter the workforce and ration rebuild the supply of child-care workers.
Increase tax credits to cover child-care costs. Biden wants Congress to enlarge child-care tax credits for one year, on an emergency basis. Families will get a tax credit for a total of up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or various children. Families making between $125,000 and $400,000 will receive a partial credit. It will also be refundable, so that low-income sets who don’t owe a lot in taxes will still benefit.
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Child-care advocates applauded the proposal.
“Child-care workers are too often taken for granted by large-scale approaches like this, and it’s a hopeful sign to see their needs put forward in a real, concrete way,” said National Women’s Law Center spokesperson Gillian Branstetter.
“We’re confident the Biden-Harris team recognizes this for the down payment it is and are ready to continue expanding access to high-quality, affordable adolescent care through the pandemic and long after it’s over.