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States are getting US$39 billion from the federal government to support child care. The money comes from the $1.9 trillion relief package that President Joe Biden signed in March 2021 and is on top of $10 billion for child care included in the $900 billion relief package former President Donald Trump signed in December 2020. The funds will help child care programs stay open and reopen, while also making it easier for some parents to resume paid work, according to details the Biden administration released April 15, 2021.

Taryn Morrissey, a former senior adviser on early childhood policy during the Obama administration, answers five questions about how this funding will help parents get back to work and what effects this funding might have on the economy.

1. How can these funds help parents get back into the workforce?

Schools and child care centers shut their doors nearly overnight in early 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic upended daily life, disrupting the work-family balance for households with children.

Mothers have historically shouldered most of the child caregiving, and the increased scale of these responsibilities during the pandemic was no different. Not surprisingly, women – especially those with young children – left the workforce by the millions.

As many Americans return to their physical workplaces, more of the estimated one-third of the American workforce – 50 million people – with children under 14 will will likely need child care.

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