Pages tagged "Poverty & Family Economics"
Child poverty bill to benefit millions of children
COVID-19 pushing poverty numbers higher
Today’s reintroduction of the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 has come just in time.
The Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 (S. 4115/H.R. 7419), put forward by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), commits to cutting child poverty in half in 10 years, just as the pandemic pushes child poverty toward record levels. The legislation also creates national, evidence-based benchmarks and monitoring to hold lawmakers accountable.
The U.S. Child Poverty Action Group, led by First Focus Campaign for Children, and a dozen of its members applaud the bill’s introduction.
“Child poverty is the shame of our nation,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “There is no reason that the richest country on earth should have one of the highest child poverty rates. In addition to being a flat-out moral failure, our reluctance to end child poverty also limits our country’s economic, social, and cultural future.”
Child poverty has remained stubbornly high in the U.S. despite strong employment and economic figures. Before the pandemic, child poverty afflicted nearly 12 million children, or 16 percent — higher than nearly any other industrialized nation. Research from Columbia University predicts that the outbreak and its economic fallout could increase child poverty by as much as 53 percent. Already, 40 percent of mothers with children under 12 reported in April they are struggling to put food on the table.
Children of color live in poverty at three times the rate of white children. And just as COVID-19 has taken a greater toll on Black, Hispanic, and Native American communities, the pandemic’s economic impact will disproportionately affect Black, Hispanic, and Native American children.
Child poverty, especially for babies and young children, can impair a person’s long-term physical and mental health, as well as their educational outcomes, income-earning potential and other facets of well-being. Because of its impact on children’s individual well-being, child poverty also negatively affects our country’s economy, costing the nation roughly $1 trillion every year.
“Child poverty underlies a persistent tangle of inequities in our society,” said Rep. Davis. “Children who grow up poor end up earning less than other children, they suffer significantly greater health risks, encounter more trauma and social conflict, and face greater barriers in education in proportion to the number of years they live in poverty. We need the tools to measure and understand the links behind childhood poverty and long-term outlooks for child development. This legislation will provide the non-partisan, scientific basis for shaping evidence-based programs and policies to level the playing field for all our children.”
“Over 15 percent of children in Pennsylvania grow up in poverty. This is unacceptable,” said Senator Casey. “The Child Poverty Reduction Act makes a commitment to cut child poverty in half over the next decade. We must ensure every child has the opportunity to grow and flourish and every child in America should have the freedom to reach her or his full potential.”
Child poverty is a problem with proven solutions. A 2019 landmark study from the non-partisan National Academy of Sciences offers evidence-based models for cutting child poverty within a decade, suggesting that lawmakers know how to reduce child poverty, they simply lack the will to do so. The Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 establishes a framework for building that political will and ensuring progress by committing to cut our national child poverty rate in half within a decade and directing the NAS to report annually on progress toward that goal.
Similar measures successfully reduced child poverty in the United Kingdom, which halved its rate between 1999 and 2008. Pre-pandemic, Canada had cut child poverty by a third since 2015. Several U.S. states also have mounted campaigns to reduce child poverty.
The following CPAG members endorse the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020: Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Health Fund, First Focus Campaign for Children, National Association for the Education of Young Children, National Association of Counties, National Center for Children in Poverty/Bank Street Graduate School of Education, National Diaper Bank Network, National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives, National WIC Association, Save the Children Action Network, ZERO TO THREE.
Letter: Expand the Child Tax Credit to reach all children
First Focus Campaign for Children — in collaboration with 17 other child and family advocacy organizations — sent the following letter to the leadership of both chambers of Congress urging them to ensure the Child Tax Credit is fully refundable and reaches all children in low- and no-income households with the greatest need.
Excerpt from the letter:
This is a pivotal moment for Congress to enact lasting, structural policy change to both mitigate the economic hardships falling on our families and children due to COVID that are disproportionately harming communities of color, and tackle our persistent and unacceptably high level of child poverty. Investments to benefit all our children today lead to positive outcomes for their health and well-being and help to ensure our nation’s prosperity. Ample research tells us that strengthening and expanding the Child Tax Credit and converting it into a monthly child allowance is one of the most powerful ways to address child poverty and increase long-term positive outcomes for our children. We strongly urge Congress to adopt changes to the Child Tax Credit, reflecting the provisions in the American Family Act (S.690/H.R. 1560), to ensure it is fully refundable and reaches all children in low- and no-income households with the greatest need.
Letter: A Pledge to work with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to address issues of importance to Hispanic children
First Focus Campaign for Children sent the following letter to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus alerting them to a few issues of importance for Hispanic children and to pledge our support in working with them to address these issues.
Excerpt from the letter:
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act corrects a major problem in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) in which children were valued at just 41.7 percent of adults ($500 per child versus $1,200 for adults) under the recovery rebate program. The HEROES Act provides full parity of $1,200 for both adults and children and acknowledges that every aspect of the lives of children is being impacted by the dual COVID-19 and economic crises. The legislation also fixes some of the shortcomings in the CARES Act “recovery rebate” program by expanding eligibility to college students, dependents over 16, and immigrant families. These are all critically important improvements that we strongly support.
How to fight child poverty in the wake of COVID-19
Every facet of the lives of children and families are being disrupted during this historic public health and economic crisis. Unfortunately, both their short-term and long-term consequences and challenges are not being fully considered or discussed. This crisis is severe and will last for months or even years to come. Moreover, the resulting physical and mental health consequences, impact on education and child development, and economic implications of this calamity will last well beyond the coronavirus itself.
That is why First Focus Campaign for Children called on Congress to safeguard the physical, emotional, financial, and developmental health and well-being of our nation’s 74 million children with a specific package of legislative proposals across a range of issues — including child poverty and family economics.
There is real momentum toward addressing the high rate of child poverty in the United States and this disaster has only served to confirm that action to reduce child poverty and support family economic security is more necessary than ever. Congress has held three separate committee hearings on child poverty since the beginning of 2020, all of which highlighted that we know what is needed to address the problem, now there just has to be the political will to act.
In 2019, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released A Roadmap to Reducing Child Poverty, a non-partisan, evidence-based study that models a set of policy and program changes that, if implemented, would cut our child poverty rate in half within a decade. The policies in this roadmap, such as establishing a national monthly child allowance program, increasing SNAP benefits, housing vouchers, and other proven solutions would ensure that families have the resources needed to support their children’s healthy development and long-term success.
As our economy is shuttered and children remain out of school, the vulnerabilities within our system have become clear. Children and families living in poverty already lack the financial stability to consistently access nutritious food, stable housing, healthcare, and all of the resources needed to support a child’s healthy development. A public health crisis only exacerbates these needs when resources are scarce for everyone and expectedly makes the disparities in our current system even worse. We urge the following actions:
- Establish a National Child Poverty Target: Codify a national commitment to cut the U.S. child poverty rate in half within a decade, as proposed in the Child Poverty Reduction Act (S. 1630/H.R. 3381 in the 115th Congress).
- Provide Emergency TANF Assistance: Establish an emergency assistance fund of at least $5 billion to families with children, including children being cared for by kin, through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This emergency assistance should be paired with a nationwide suspension of the requirement for state programs to comply with the Work Participation Rate and suspend the federal benefit time limit.
- Create Equity for Children in Recovery Rebate Payments: Establish equity in the current “recovery rebate” program to ensure all children and young adults, regardless of age and immigration status, receive the same rebate as adults. As the law is currently written, families receive only $500 per child under the age of 17, thus valuing children at just 41.7 percent the value of adults. A single parent with two children should not receive a smaller rebate ($2,200) than a married couple without children ($2,400). Newborns, young adults, foster youth, and college students who meet the income requirements should qualify for the full recovery rebate and there should be appropriate guidance and administrative mechanisms in place quickly to ensure the rebates reach all recipients swiftly to help meet their basic needs such as paying rent and putting food on the table while boosting the economy.
- Authorize Additional, Bigger, and Sustainable Direct Payments: In addition to fixing the current “rebate program,” authorize additional, substantial, and regularly distributed “recovery rebates” (at least $2,000 per month) that will reach those who need it most to make ends meet throughout this crisis. These payments should be bigger, distributed monthly, easily accessible, and should not turn off arbitrarily. Instead, the economic impact payments should be tied to the labor markets with flexibility for the states so that they provide some economic security during uncertain times and help to stimulate the economy in the short-term and during the anticipated months and years of recovery.
- Establish Fairness in Recovery Rebate Program: Address the exclusion of ITIN filers from eligibility for the “recovery rebates” so that some of our most vulnerable children in mixed-status families, including U.S. citizens, have access to this cash benefit during this historic public health and economic emergency to help pay for everyday needs such as food, housing, utilities, and more.
- Adopt Automatic Payment of “Recovery Rebates” to SSI Recipients with Dependents: The Department of Treasury and the U.S. Social Security Administration should adopt procedures so that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with dependents can easily obtain their recovery rebates automatically without filing additional information just as SSI recipients without dependents will.
- Expand Existing Refundable Tax Credits: Expand the successful Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to provide some permanent financial stability, delivered on a monthly basis, to households with children that have low- to moderate-income or no income. Such a permanent program would help to ensure a minimum set of resources regularly available to meet the rising costs of raising children and supporting healthy child development, serve as a buffer against the effects of a future crisis, and offer a mechanism to provide additional economic impact payments automatically should we experience another economic downturn. The CTC expansion would establish a regular monthly child allowance that the 2019 NAS report acknowledges as the most effective policy change to lift children out of poverty. A CTC expansion such as the proposed American Family Act (H.R. 1560/S.690) would lift 4 million children out of poverty and 1.6 million children out of deep poverty and benefit U.S. territories. The expansion of the EITC proposed in the Working Families Tax Relief Act (H.R. 3157/S. 1138) would reach families with children, low-income workers, qualified foster and homeless youth under age 25, and includes a federal matching mechanism for Puerto Rico’s new EITC.
- Provide Additional Resources for VITA and Outreach for the Recovery Rebates: Increase funding for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program ($12 million this tax season and an additional $5 million for next season) to ensure VITA sites have resources to expand service delivery to those lowest and middle-income people and those who ordinarily do not file tax returns, but now would need to complete a streamlined tax return to receive the “recovery rebate.” Congress also should provide additional funding to the Administration to ensure it can conduct outreach on the rebate program to identify all eligible individuals who qualify for the economic impact payment and can receive the benefit even if they do not have direct deposit or are homeless.
- Extend Paid Leave: Extend paid sick days and paid family and medical leave to all workers with full wage replacement, regardless of employer size.
Further Improve Unemployment Insurance Benefits: This includes:
- Providing a $10 billion investment for state Unemployment Insurance (UI) administration.
- Setting up a tiered system of UI benefits (similar to what was done during the Great Recession). Triggers should be related to the state of the economy, not ending at particular dates.
- Implementing structural UI reform, including mandatory 26 weeks of benefits for each state; mandatory wage replacement rates; mandatory work sharing; and fixing the Emergency Benefits program.
- Ensuring that UI benefits do not count against eligibility for the SNAP program.
- Provide Child Support Enforcement Flexibility: Provide states with flexibility in Child Support Enforcement program administration as well as discretion in non-payment enforcement measures against unemployed non-custodial parents.
For a full list of our specific policy recommendations across the array of children’s issues, check out our letter to Congress.
Letter: Correct the Inequities in COVID-19 Response
First Focus Campaign for Children sent the following letter to Congressional leaders in both houses with a set of recommendations to address the needs of our nation’s children and youth as our country faces two crises — the spread of COVID-19 and the resulting economic impact as businesses and schools remain closed and consumers stay home.
Excerpt from the letter:
This outbreak and the resulting economic crisis are falling hardest on the most vulnerable among us, including our nation’s children. It is disrupting every facet of children’s lives and we cannot yet know all of the negative and long-lasting implications it will have on children’s healthy development and future success.
While we applaud the passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the CARES Act, we know much more is needed to address all of the ways that this outbreak is affecting child well-being in the United States. We urge Congress to treat children equitably to help meet their needs in additional legislative packages.
Kids & COVID-19: Resource Hub
The impact on children from COVID-19 is immense. It is also variable and complicated. Every facet of the lives of children and families are being disrupted. Unfortunately, in policy discussions, children are often invisible to policymakers and so much of this nuance is ignored. Below, we have attempted to dig into this nuance and provide resources on all of the ways this crisis impacts the lives of children — and how we can work to address these challenges.
Articles & Analysis
The COVID-19 Crisis Is Catastrophic for Children Too
On a daily basis, we are witnessing an ever-changing response to the spread of COVID-19 across the entire nation. Unlike natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, flooding, or man-made disasters like 9/11 that impact the entire nation but have devastating consequences that are more consequential to a specific and defined geographic area, the COVID-19 challenge is that it is a worldwide catastrophe and is creating both health and economic crises simultaneously. Every facet of the lives of children and families are being disrupted. Unfortunately, both the short-term and long-term consequences and challenges are not being fully considered or discussed. This crisis is severe and will last for months or even years to come. Moreover, the health and trauma, impact on education and child development, and economic consequences of this calamity will last well beyond the coronavirus itself.
Building a Better America and World for Our Children
We are living in a life-changing moment where it is clear that the future will look quite different than we had imagined. We are all sheltering at home, practicing social distancing, and focusing most of our attention on the twin crises of COVID-19 and the related worldwide economic recession. Obviously, it is critically important to find that balance between protecting the health of people worldwide and protecting the economy from collapse and the harm that will have on people’s lives. Focusing on the need to improve the care and delivery of services to children and families is desperately needed, but we often forget that such work goes hand-in-hand with advocacy. However, because corporations, interest groups, and the wealthy are engaged in politics and bring money and influence to the table, the needs of children are often an afterthought in public policymaking.
COVID-19: How The Health of Children Is at Stake
Children may not be dying in the same number as adults or senior citizens due to COVID-19, but their health is at risk and so are the lives of their parents and grandparents. While children are often more susceptible to certain diseases and environmental toxins, they are also often more responsive to medical treatment and have a better ability to bounce back and heal from health issues. The latter appears to be the case with COVID-19, but it should not lead to an utter dismissal of their unique health care needs or their special circumstances by politicians.
Coronavirus confirms why we need a national commitment to address child poverty and homelessness in the United States
This current crisis makes clear that anti-poverty strategies are public health strategies. As the spread of the Coronavirus has grown, the vulnerabilities within our system have become clear. As schools close, businesses close or reduce hours, consumers stay home, and events are canceled, low-income household budgets are being stretched even thinner and children’s healthy development is at risk as children miss meals and other resources usually provided in school, and parents miss paychecks due to reduced work hours or lack of childcare. This is why it’s crucial that we address these challenges through a national commitment to cut child poverty in half within a decade.
Congress passes coronavirus relief package — what’s in it for kids?
First Focus commends the passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus emergency bill, and even more, for using it to offer relief to America’s struggling families and children. While some of the deal’s elements will meet the most urgent needs of our nation’s children, it is far from perfect. In this fact sheet, we look at how each of the three Congressional relief packages affect children.
Fact sheet on aid to children and families in the HEROES Act
As part of ongoing efforts to address the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic crisis, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (H.R. 6800) on May 15, 2020, by a vote of 208 to 199. Many of these provisions build on the efforts of the two previous major pieces of COVID-19 response legislation, the CARES act, and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
Statements & Letters to Congress
First Focus/State Policy Advocacy & Rerfom Center Letter to Congress on COVID Child Welfare (May 26, 2020)
Statement on the passage of the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act (May 14, 2020)
Letter to Congress with recommendations on how to correct inequities in the COVID-19 response (April 20, 2020)
Statement on the passage for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (March 26, 2020)
Letter from Children's Budget Coalition asking Congress to prioritize children and families in Congress’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic (March 24, 2020)
Letter asking Congress to prioritize the well-being of children as they respond to the coronavirus outbreak (March 20, 2020)
Statement on the passage for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (March 18, 2020)
Selected News Coverage on COVID-19's Effect on Children
- A Gloomy Prediction on How Much Poverty Could Rise via New York Times
- COVID-19 In Children: How They Contract Infection And What Are The Symptoms via NPR
- The pandemic will haunt today’s children forever. But we can help them now via The Washington Post
- Parenting during a pandemic: ‘Our children are not OK via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- This Woman and Her Kids Are U.S. Citizens — But They Can't Get Any Coronavirus Stimulus Money via VICE
- Coronavirus's collateral damage: Abused and neglected children via The Hill
- UN: Millions of children at risk of poverty and malnutrition due to coronavirus via AXIOS
- Do not forget the hidden epidemic of child abuse via Portland Press Herald
- Millions of U.S. citizens won’t get help from stimulus checks because their spouses or parents are unauthorized immigrants via Dallas Morning News
- Medicaid saved my son’s life, it saves lives in a pandemic too via The Colorado Independent
- Delays in vaccinations, delays in care: How fear of COVID-19 is affecting children's health via CNN
- Lessons From New Orleans On Child Trauma And The COVID-19 Crisis via Essence
- With no school, calls drop but child abuse hasn't amid virus via ABC News
- Gen Z was fed up with the status quo. Coronavirus could affirm their beliefs via The Washington Post
- 40 million children miss polio vaccinations due to COVID-19 via The Nation
- 25 Kids Test Positive For Coronavirus At Virginia Juvenile Detention Center via The Huffington Post
- Risk of Eviction High For Households With Kids, Especially During Coronavirus: Researcher via Youth Today
- COVID-19 adds to woes of homeless New Mexican youth who age out of foster care via Las Cruces Sun News
- The opioid crisis and community-level spillovers onto children’s education via Brookings
- Congress must act to provide millions of children with pandemic food assistance via The Hill
- The America We Need via New York Times
- Children's advocates want more COVID-19 protections via CQ News
- The Coronavirus Class Divide: Space and Privacy via New York Times
- Millions of low-income children are still waiting for federal food aid via CNN
- Gen Z was fed up with the status quo. Coronavirus could affirm their beliefs via Washington Post
- Want To Get Money To People In Need Right Now? Use Food Stamps via Buzzfeed
- States should replace grab-and-go school meals with cash to families via The Hill
- Who will care for the children of COVID-19 patients? via The Philadelphia Inquirer
- The deadly mix of COVID-19, air pollution, and inequality, explained via Vox
- Children's advocates want more COVID-19 protections via CQ Roll Call
- We're all supposed to stay home. What about kids who aren't safe there? via CNN
- The Kids Aren’t All Right via The Atlantic
- Expert warns: Stay-at-home order could increase child abuse via The Missoulian
- Coronavirus roils every segment of US child welfare system via Fort Worth Star-Telegram
- New York Foster Youth Ousted from Dorms Face the Weekend in Pandemic Limbo via The Chronicle of Social Change
- Who’s Left Out of Coronavirus Stimulus Payments? Many College Students, Adult Dependents via The Wall Street Journal
- How US schools are (and aren’t) providing meals to children in the COVID-19 crisis via Vox
- FOX 5 partners with Washington Teachers' Union to air lessons on TV for students without laptops via FOX5 DC
- 10,000 Tenn. children could lose therapy as insurance companies deny telehealth coverage via WZTV Nashville
- The Urgency of Child Care During a Pandemic via DAME Magazine
Presentations & Panels
Statement: Senate package good first step for kids but children need more robust measures
We commend Senate lawmakers’ unanimous passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus emergency bill, and even more, for using it to offer relief to America’s struggling families and children. While some of the deal’s elements will meet the most urgent needs of our nation’s children, Congress must quickly enact even more robust measures.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R.748) sets aside more than $9 billion in food assistance to keep children and families from going hungry. The bill also funds education assistance for kids out of school; community health centers, where 30% of the patients are children; the federal program that helps families pay for utilities; and programs to help support families experiencing homelessness or housing instability.
We applaud the provision of direct cash assistance to children, families and individuals, and the removal of thresholds that will now allow the money to reach the neediest people in our communities. This cash will begin — but only begin — to meet the immediate needs of struggling families for food, rent, gas, utilities and other necessities. The amount of assistance — $1,200 per adult, $500 per child — is inadequate, particularly for children, who are engaged in critical stages of development and whose families are further endangered by lack of family medical leave and other social supports. Lawmakers must move immediately to increase and extend cash assistance, ensure it reaches all children regardless of immigration status, and to create parity in the amounts given to adults and children.
As more parents lose jobs, more families will become eligible for Medicaid. Congress therefore also must increase the amount of federal assistance to states to help them meet the increased demand. We are also pleased that the package provides additional funding for child care, but as in other areas, more is needed. Health care workers and other essential personnel on the front lines of this pandemic need child care more than ever, and child care workers need support.
We look forward to the swift passage of this bill by the House, and the swift remedy of its shortcomings in the near future.
Statement for the Record: Ways & Means Subcommittee on Worker and Family Support Hearing on Combatting Child Poverty
As members of the U.S. Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), a coalition of national organizations dedicated to addressing child poverty in the United States, we are writing to urge you to build on the momentum following this hearing by passing the Child Poverty Reduction Act and establishing a national commitment to cut our child poverty rate in half within a decade. The Time to Act is Now.
Letter: Prioritize the well-being of children as you respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.
First Focus Campaign for Children sent the following letter to Congressional leaders in both houses, urging them to prioritize the well-being of children in America as they respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Excerpt from the letter:
We applaud Congress for passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and now urge Congress to again act quickly to provide additional and immediate economic relief in the form of increased access to healthcare, direct cash transfers, housing assistance, education support, child care assistance and more in order to protect the health of all children and families in the United States and provide households with some financial stability to weather times of uncertainty.
We ask for you to act in the following ways:
- Implement an immediate and direct cash assistance program of at least $2,000 that prioritizes children and available to all children who need it most. The direct cash support should be robust and on scale with the crisis, reach those quickly who need it most, including those with no income, and available in timely payments until the economy recovers. It also should not result in the unintended exclusion of babies and young people who would qualify now but would not have been eligible in 2018. We know that an immediate cash-transfer to low-and middle-income families during this public health emergency will help to address the loss of income too many households are experiencing now, and others will endure as the economy continues to slow down, businesses close and layoffs occur. Expansion of the Child Tax Credit and the Earned Income Tax Credit also would help to ensure some household financial stability for many low-income and vulnerable populations during these times of grave uncertainty;
- Provide emergency cash assistance to families through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program;
- Increase the Medicaid FMAP by at least ten percentage points;
- Mandate 12-month continuous eligibility in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
- Reduce enrollment barriers and red tape for enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP;
- Enroll newborns without alternative coverage in Medicaid automatically;
- Provide Medicaid coverage to any population not currently eligible;
- Increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for every household enrolled in the program;
- Fund McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) at $500 million and allow for broader use of funds to meet the temporary housing, health, safety, transportation, and educational needs of homeless children and youth, including the unique needs of young children, unaccompanied youth, children and youth with disabilities, and English Language Learners;
- Increase Runaway and Homeless Youth Act programs by $128 million and bypass the current competitive grant process and distribute to existing grantees;
- Increase the Service Connect for Youth on the Streets program by $22 million and also bypass the current competitive grant process and distribute to existing grantees;
- Ensure that colleges and universities create plans to support students experiencing homelessness or housing instability during campus shutdowns;
- Boost Title IV-E Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (Chafee) funds above the current level of $143 million and temporarily waive the 30 percent Chafee housing cap for the duration of the crisis in order to provide additional support for living independent services for current and former foster youth;
- Require a percent point FMAP increase for Title IV-E to match the Medicaid FMAP increase to support children and families in the child welfare system;
- Implement a moratorium on evictions nationwide;
- Increase access to civil legal services for families facing evictions after moratoriums are lifted, or if moratoriums are not put into effect;
- Suspend the operation of the public charge rule for the duration of the crisis and ensure that no medical services utilized during the crisis apply to any reinstated rule;
- Significant and flexible emergency funding that will allow child care and Head Start programs to weather the growing public health and economic crisis and preserve the nation’s supply of family child care and community-based child care programs;
- Ensure emergency child care funding includes for public health workers and first responders;
- Accelerate efforts to address technology gaps and access to broadband and devices for students and families.
Statement: Congress's coronavirus response is a good first step, but bigger, bolder measures are needed
We applaud Congress for passing the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, providing families and children with increased food and nutrition assistance, supplemental state funding for Medicaid, and paid sick days and leave for some workers. The bill, passed today by the Senate, was a good first step, but bigger, bolder measures are needed to aid the nation’s families.
The financial instability experienced by children living in poverty already deprives them of regular, nutritious meals; stable housing; health care and other resources required for their healthy development. While the public health crisis has taken a toll on the entire country, it has exacerbated the systemic inequities surrounding our most vulnerable families and children.
“As schools close and businesses shut down, low-income households are stretched even thinner,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley. “As parents miss paychecks and children miss meals, we put the healthy development of our kids at risk.”
As bipartisan advocates for making children and families a priority in federal budget and policy decisions, we urge Congress to act quickly and aggressively on additional measures. These should include direct and immediate emergency cash transfers, increased access to healthcare, housing and child care assistance, educational support, and more. For a full list of policy priorities aimed at easing the burden on children and families, please see our Letter to Congressional leaders.