On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law. The Act includes significant investments in education, workforce development, safety net programs and other important areas, including substantial funding to support young children. This page is intended to provide state policymakers and advocates with information on the ARRA, including strategies for spending ARRA funds effectively. We will continue adding resources as they become available. For technical assistance on any of these resources, please contact Danielle Ewen.
- Information on ARRA legislation and implementation
- Federal guidance
- CLASP audio conferences
- Tracking ARRA Child Care Funds
- State ARRA Policy Developments
- CCDBG: What's in the law?
- Making Use of Economic Recovery Funds: Child Care Policy Options for States
- Benefitting Babies
- State Infant/Toddler Policies Series
- Improving Access for Immigrant Families
- Overview of ARRA early childhood provisions. The ARRA provided $2 billion in funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) and $2.1 billion for Head Start, to be split as $1 billion for Head Start and $1.1 billion for Early Head Start.
- Early Childhood Education in the ARRA: Opportunities for Helping Low-income Children and Families. This presentation highlights funding opportunities for supporting young children and their families, quality early learning experiences, and healthy and supportive communities.
- State-by-state breakdown of CCDBG funding. Find out how much of the $2 billion your state will receive in CCDBG funds.
- State-by-state breakdown of education funding. These tables include state amounts for IDEA part B and C and Title I funds.
- ARRA Unemployment Benefits Increase and Income Determination for Public Benefits.This document from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains a provision in the ARRA that requires states to disregard an increase in unemployment benefits when determining eligibility for Medicaid and SCHIP. States have the option of disregarding this increase in income for child care subsidy eligibility determination.
NAEYC page on ARRA and implementation. This website featues information on the Recovery Act and early childhood, including information on higher education funding, education stabilization funds, and using ARRA funds for professional development.
- Child Care Bureau ARRA page. This page includes relevant Program Instructions, Information Memorandums, Frequently Asked Questions, and CCDBG-specific guidance to ARRA Section 1512 Reporting.
- Grant Opportunities. Expansion of Early Head Start, Head Start, Migrant and Seasonal Head Start, and American Indian and Alaskan Native Head Start. Released May 8, 2009.
- Office of Management and Budget (OMB) initial implementing guidance on ARRA. The recovery act has strong accountability provisions and the federal government is establishing procedures to meet these provisions. See additional information at www.recovery.gov.
- Department of Education ARRA guidance: state fiscal stabilization fund, Title I, IDEA Part B, IDEA Part C, and school reform and improvement.
- Serving Preschool Children Under Title I. This 2004 non-regulatory guidance from the Department of Education provides information on using Title I funds to serve children from birth to the age of school entry.
- Head Start Funding. This Program Instruction from the Office of Head Start explains the distribution of Head Start ARRA funds.
- Child Care Funding. This Program Instruction from the Child Care Bureau explains the distribution of and requirements for CCDBG ARRA funds.
- Opportunities to Serve More Low-Income, Working Families (February 25, 2009). Danielle Ewen of CLASP and Helen Blank of NWLC discuss the opportunity for states and local communities to serve more low-income working families and to make long-term investments in quality programs through new investments in the ARRA. Listen to the conference in streaming audio (55 minutes) or read the transcript.
- Economic Recovery Update: How States Can Use Economic Recovery Funds to Help Child Care (May 21, 2009). To strategize about how to best utilize the economic recovery funds, the National Women's Law Center and CLASP hosted a conference call moderated by Helen Blank and Danielle Ewen. Presenters discuss highlights of their states' plans. Listen to the conference in streaming audio or read the transcript.
- Update on State Child Care Assistance Policies and Use of Economic Recovery Funds (October 15, 2009). CLASP and the National Women’s Law Center host the third in a series of calls about how states are working to improve the quality and accessibility of child care in the current economic crisis. Listen to the conference in streaming audio or read the transcript.
- Update on State Advisory Councils on Early Childhood Education and Care (December 1, 2009). CLASP and the National Women's Law Center host a call about what states are doing with economic recovery funds that are allocated to fund State Early Childhood Advisory Councils. Listen to the conference in streaming audio or read the transcript.
- Using ARRA Funds for State Infant/Toddler Initiatives (May 18, 2010).CLASP and the National Women's Law Center will host a call about how states are using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to improve the quality of care for infants and toddlers. A recording and transcript will be posted when they are available.
This page is updated monthly with information on how states are drawing down ARRA CCDBG funds.
Our State Developments topic page has information on how states are using ARRA funds. The National Women's Law Center has also released a report, Supporting State Child Care Efforts with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds, which illustrates additional ways that states are utilizing ARRA funds to support low-income families and child care providers as well as to improve the quality of care for young children, including infants and toddlers.
This document lays out what exactly the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) law requires of states. CCDBG allows states broad discretion to develop their child care assistance programs within federal guidelines. Policymakers and advocates can use this document to understand the flexibility states have to spend economic recovery funds within the CCDBG law.
This joint paper, written by CLASP and the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) offers state policymakers and advocates a set of stimulative policy options for spending CCDBG economic recovery funds that create new jobs, put additional resources into state economies, and/or help low-income families stay in the paid work force. These policy options will expand access to child care for low-income families and will improve the quality of available child care.
This paper, building on CLASP's research on effective infant/toddler child care policies, presents ten policy ideas for state policymakers to implement now to support quality programs and enhancement strategies that will improve early care and learning for infants and toddlers.
These brief fact sheets provide policy recommendations and state examples to improve the quality of infant/toddler care. Available fact sheets:
Improving Access for Immigrant Families
This paper presents ten policy ideas for state policymakers to implement now to improve access to child care and child care assistance for children in immigrant families.
- Title I and Early Education: Models for Using ARRA Funds. This page presents examples of how school districts have used Title I for early education programs for children from birth through the age of school entry and includes links to CLASP resources on this topic.
- FAQ: Using Title I of ESEA for Early Education. This paper presents answers to frequently asked questions about using Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act funds for early education.
Parental Unemployment Takes its Toll on Children
As the U.S. continues recovering from the Great Recession, unemployment among the nation's families is a persistent concern. In an average month in 2012, 6.2 million children lived with unemployed parents, and 12.1 million children were affected by an unemployed or underemployed parent. Parental unemployment and underemployment can create instability for low-income children, which can be exacerbated when families face reduced eligibility for child care subsidies, or loss of subsidies entirely. Federal cuts to child care and Head Start funding under sequestration may further reduce access as Head Start classrooms close, and states tighten their child care subsidy eligibility policies.
A recent report from the Urban Institute and First Focus analyzes unemployment from the perspective of children, looking at the impact a parent's job loss can have on children and how many children around the country have been affected by this. Families experience decreased financial resources with the loss of a job, making it hard to cover monthly expenses and provide for their children's developmental needs. Increased parent irritability and depression as a result of job loss can strain family relations and lead to increases in conflicts. Several studies have shown unemployment can negatively impact children's school performance.
The report finds that black children are twice as likely to live with an unemployed parent as white children, and that children of college-educated parents are less likely to have unemployed parents than other children. Children in single-parent families are also more likely to live with an unemployed parent than children in two-parent families. The number of children with unemployed parents varies greatly across states. Nationally, 9 percent of children live with at least one unemployed parent. In California, 11 percent of children live with at least one unemployed parent, and 13 percent of children in the District of Columbia live with at least one unemployed parent. However, less than 4 percent of children in North Dakota and Vermont live with an unemployed parent.
Families and children with one or more unemployed parent would benefit from strengthened policies for unemployment insurance, child care subsidies, and other benefit programs that are critical to the stability and well being of low-income, vulnerable families. In combination with consistent funding, strong child care subsidy policies that can help families weather the disruptions of employment include:
- Extended job search periods for families who have been eligible for subsidies but have had hours reduced, or have become unemployed;
- More flexible eligibility and reporting requirements, such as reducing the employment or salary triggers for changes in subsidy eligibility;
- Annual eligibility redetermination policies, to allow children continuity in care settings while their parents weather bumpy economic roads.
Policies should reflect what is best for children and families during times of unemployment. Thoughtful action at the federal, state, and local level can help support families through this difficult time and reduce the negative impact unemployment can have on children and the entire family.