Volume 31

The American Rescue Plan as a Guide for Helping Mothers Permanently Secure Accessible, High- Quality Childcare and Out-of-School Time Care

by Lauren Smith

COVID-19 caused a perfect storm that showcased the indispensability of childcare to the overall well-being of children, families, and communities while simultaneously illuminating the many gaps and shortcomings rife within the American childcare system. The virus only exacerbated the accessibility and affordability challenges faced by families seeking high-quality childcare. This Note evaluates the necessity of accessible, high-quality childcare and out-of-school time options for working moms while considering the pandemic’s impact on the care industry. The Note argues that the American Rescue Plan’s influx of federal funding to the childcare and out-of-school time industry, while a necessary life-preserver, was not enough to sustain the sort of growth in quality and affordability long overdue. The Note asserts solutions such as making permanent monthly payments to families through the expanded 2021 Child Tax Credit and expanding incentivization structures for large companies to include in their plans how they will provide affordable childcare for their workers. With federal relief money expiring in 2024, now is the time for state and federal legislators to either make portions of the American Rescue Plan permanent or incorporate key ideas from the Plan into existing structures.

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