Federal COVID Relief - What it Means for Children
House & Senate to Take Action on "Once In A Lifetime" Legislation in Coming Days
The Biden Administration and Congress have targeted early March as the completion date for the next round of federal COVID relief funding. The Children’s Agenda and allied organizations are paying close attention to the emerging deal in Washington DC, and are working with child advocacy organizations around the country to ensure that children are prioritized in any comprehensive federal agreement.
This next round of federal COVID relief will likely pass under budget reconciliation rules. This option, which is not subject to a filibuster, requires an extensive committee mark-up and amendment process in both the House of Representatives and the Senate before Congress can send the bill to the President. ... (Read more)
Likely Legislative Timeline
How COVID Relief Affects Children
Child Tax Credit – Increases per-child credit to a maximum of $3,000 for children 6-17 ($3,600 for children under 6), up from $2,000 per child. Credit would be fully refundable and eliminate any income phase-ins, ensuring low-income families receive the full credit amount. The IRS would establish a process to disburse some of the credit to families monthly. While this enhanced credit would only be established for one year in this deal, congressional leaders and the Biden Administration hope to make the credit permanent as part of the FY 2022.
Child Care – $39B to states to support their child care industries. NYS could potentially receive $1.8B. The House Ways & Means Committee also included additional baseline funding for child care that would presumably continue in future years.
Economic Impact Payments – Households meeting income eligibility thresholds would receive a stimulus payment of $1,400 per household member, including children.
Schools - $13B to help schools implement CDC recommendations to safely re-open and operate. Some of these funds would be designated to help address learning loss. NYS could potentially receive up to $9.6B in school funding.
Unemployment Benefits - Enhanced benefits extended through August 2021 and federal weekly supplemental benefits increased from $300 to $400 per week.
Other Important Provisions - $350M for child welfare services, $150M for Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, $4.5B for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, $800M for WIC, and $1B for Head Start.
State Advocacy Week - February 22-26
It is Kids Can't Wait Awareness Week!
This week, the Kids Can't Wait campaign is flooding social media with all things related to Early Intervention & Preschool Special Education. Additionally, the Kids Can't Wait campaign is virtually bringing constituents in front of legislators. These meetings will involve educating legislators about the NYS Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education systems, asking for their support for the Kids Can't Wait 2021-22 budget recommendations, and asking them to reject cuts to Early Intervention funding as proposed in the Governor's Executive Budget.
RCSD Students Return to Classroom
Changes for students amid COVID and Removal of School Resource Officers
High School Students Return to School Without SRO's
Thursday, Feb. 25th will be the first time in over twenty years that Rochester City School District (RCSD) high school students will be returning to the classroom without armed police officers present. These police, known as School Resource Officers (SROs), were eliminated in the 2020-21 Rochester City Budget back on June 16th.
As a member of the Community Task Force on School Climate, The Children's Agenda, in partnership with dozens of other organizations, advocated for this change to remove police last school year. On Feb. 17th, Eamonn Scanlon, TCA’s Education Policy Director, appeared on Connections with Evan Dawson to discuss why SROs were removed and why other districts in Monroe County should follow RCSD’s example...
Debating the presence of police in schools
United Youth Voices
On February 12th, TCA hosted “United Youth Voices,” along with our co-organizers ROC The Future, Teen Empowerment, and the Roc Responders. Current RCSD high school students shared their experiences with remote learning and what they are worried about as well as looking forward to the return of in-person learning. This event centered on the concerns and experiences of youth who have been left out of the contentious debates about reopening schools during the pandemic.
The first day of in-person learning for high school students at RCSD for the 2020-21 school year is Feb. 25th. For a recording, visit our Facebook page.
TCA Supports Return to In-person Instruction
The Children’s Agenda is committed to following the best available evidence and following parents’ wishes for what works best for children and youth. Right now, the consensus of the scientific and academic community is that in-person learning can be done safely and should be a priority to protect the wellbeing of students.
Please read our full letter of support to the RCSD for their decision to begin a hybrid learning model for all district students.
For more on our position on COVID and schools, click to read our recent policy briefs.
RCSD Parent Expresses Thanks for Return to School
We received the following note from a parent in our V.I.P. (Very Invested Parent) program, Joe McGee, who is grateful for the reopening of the RCSD. He is excited to finally get his daughter back to a structured learning environment and also thankful for the district's willingness to ensure all students returning are healthy, safe, and welcomed.
"I am a proud parent of a child who has returned back to school this past Monday. I wanted to take a moment to thank the Rochester City School District for reopening schools. As a single father, it has helped me get back to work, so I can provide for my daughter. I also feel that my daughter will be happier and again moving forward with her social-emotional development. Thank you again for your time and getting my kid back in school. I truly appreciate it."
- Joe McGee
"Daniel's Law" Aims To Establish Mental Health Units for Emergency Mental Health Situations
Assemblymember Harry Bronson and State Senator Samra Brouk have introduced new legislation to establish state and regional mental health response councils, permitting mental health professionals to respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies.
“Daniel’s Law” is named for Daniel Prude, who died after an encounter with Rochester police when experiencing a mental health emergency. Officers detained and restrained him, face down on a frozen road until he stopped breathing.
“Time and time again, we’ve seen the police response to a mental health emergency escalate the situation, leading to unnecessary violence and even death,” Bronson said in a statement. “The tragic death of Daniel Prude last year and the recent pepper-spraying of a 9-year-old child have rightly outraged our communities and shown that real change is needed to prevent more tragedies like these from occurring. This legislation will help ensure our most vulnerable friends and neighbors are directly connected to trained mental health professionals who will treat them with compassion at their time of need.”
The legislation is co-sponsored by Assemblymembers Demond Meeks, Sarah Clark, and Jen Lunsford as well as Senator Jeremy Cooney.
Click below to read Our Statement "Justice for Daniel Prude"
NYS Early Childhood Advisory Council Spotlights TCA
This month, the New York State Early Childhood Advisory Council launched a new set of Local, State, and National Spotlight Interviews highlighting powerful and innovative early childhood initiatives. As one of their first 2021 spotlights, they highlighted The Children's Agenda for our local work in promoting Early Childhood advocacy. Click here to read their interview with our CEO, Larry Marx.
February 2021 Donors
Kathleen Battaglia - Canandaigua National Bank - Jen Cathy - Meredith Dragon - The Howard Hallowell Fund - Richard Kreipe - Dr. Ernest and Sarah Krug - Catharine Kurz - Randi Levine - Dr. Thomas and Beverly McInerny - Cheryl Phillips - Cynthia Toleman - Tracy and Karen Walker
The Children's Agenda 1 S. Washington Street Suite 120 Rochester, NY 14614 United States
The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.