While many Marylanders are beginning to see bigger bank account balances due to checks received from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, they will also begin to see more funding for child care.
“It has been projected that Maryland could end up losing over 78,000 licensed child care spots over the course of this pandemic, deepening the child care crisis that many communities already have to face,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Maryland Democrat.
On Tuesday, Van Hollen held a roundtable panel with many child care providers to discuss the difficulties that they have seen during the pandemic. Most cited an increase in operating costs due to the additional cleaning and sanitizing required for staying open. They also saw a drastic decrease in enrollment and capacity.
“Last year, Maryland Head Start was only able to serve 21% of children eligible for the Head Start program,” Van Hollen said.
The Early Head Start program fared worse: Only 13% of toddlers who were eligible entered the program.
Van Hollen said he hopes that many aspects of the rescue plan will help address these issues in Maryland.
“The state will receive about $513 million for child care relief,” Van Hollen said. “It would both provide child care assistance for families and to support providers struggling to meet operating costs.”
The new relief package will also provide $11 million for Head Start programs in Maryland.
Van Hollen also highlighted the increase in child tax credit for families, which has been raised to $3,000 for kids aging from 6 to 17 and $3,600 for children under 6.
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