One-Year Anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Feb 17, 2010
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The law provided much needed resources to states and to individuals and families to weather the economic recession. Importantly, ARRA reinvested in our nation's social infrastructure that had largely been ignored for years.
ARRA included a historic investment in child care and early education programs, including $2 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and $2.1 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start. These funds have helped states maintain and expand investments in early childhood programs as part of federal and state goals to improve access to high quality programs across the early childhood system.
As of January 29, states, territories, and tribes have drawn down a total of $503.6 million in child care funds, or 25 percent of the $2 billion allocation. CCDBG ARRA funds are available until September 30, 2010. Eleven states have drawn down over 50 percent of allocated dollars: Arkansas, Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, and Oregon. Please note that ARRA reporting of state outlays includes any tribal funds drawn down within the state.
In addition to the jobs that have been saved and created, these funds have been a critical economic support for families. States have expanded access to assistance, helping low-income families receive the help they need to pay for child care so they can go to work, have helped families continue to receive assistance as they look for work to limit chaos and instability in the lives of children, have reduced parent copayments for care to boost family budgets, and have made improvements to the quality of care by hiring specialists in infant and toddler care, creating quality rating and improvement systems, and providing scholarships to teaches to help them get additional training and education.
Head Start and Early Head Start funding has allowed thousands more poor children to have access to a comprehensive early childhood development program that supports their healthy development and prepares them for a more sound future. The unprecedented expansion of Early Head Start will ensure that the nation's most vulnerable children have access to health and medical services and critical family supports during their earliest years. Head Start staff also received vital cost of living increases that support their economic well-being as well.
ARRA investments ensured that states could maintain or expand core early childhood programs in the face of drastic budget shortfalls. These funds undoubtedly made a difference in improving economic well-being and healthy development for thousands of young children. Additional investments will continue to be central to the nation's long-term recovery and ensure that young children growing up under the present economic conditions may avoid the most adverse consequences of growing up in poverty.