At HiMama, we understand that being an early childhood educator is one of the hardest jobs in the world. We also know that you do it because you have a passion for working with kids and seeing them grow. Nonetheless, budget cuts, burnout, and long hours have made working in the ECE space challenging to say the least… especially in a pandemic.
Thankfully, we have some good news coming your way! Earlier this year, the American Families Plan was approved by President Biden. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the government to invest in you, your goals, your centers, and your kids, so we broke down exactly what this new venture means.
Parents, do not fret. The American Families Plan has a host of benefits for you and your families as well. Expect to save thousands of dollars on childcare, receive more tax credits, and feel a sense of relief in what can only be called a tumultuous year.
What does this mean for parents?
The American Families Plan will invest $200 billion to ensure that all three- and four-year-old children will have access to free, high-quality, public education. The Biden administration estimates that this will save the average family $13,000!
The American Families Plan has a goal of making childcare affordable. Families will now be able to pay for childcare according to their income. This means that lower-income families can have childcare fully covered by the government, and those who make 1.5 times their state median income will pay no more than 7% of their income for all children under the age of five. These subsidies will be accessible to families whether you choose a childcare center, family childcare provider, or an Early Head Start Program. No matter your situation, the American Families Plan has been built to meet you where you are, and ensure that you have options to receive high-quality childcare while not breaking the bank.
Family Tax Reliefs!
The American Families Plan also has a variety of new tax reliefs for parents. The first part of the plan is to increase the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan from $2,000 per child to $3,000 for children age 6+ and to $3,600 for those under 6. The credit will also be extended through 2025 and be made permanently refundable so that low-income families can benefit from the full tax credit. The credit will also be delivered on a regular basis so families do not need to wait until tax season to receive their refunds.
President Biden is also calling upon Congress to make the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) permanent as well. Families will get a credit for as much as half of their spending on qualified child care for children under 13, and up to $4,000 for one child or $8,000 for two or more children. Depending on your income, a 50% reimbursement will be given to families making less than $125,000 a year, and families making $125,000 – $400,000 will receive a partial credit with benefits at least as generous as those they receive today. The credit can be used for a variety of expenses such as full-time care, after-school care, and summer care.
What does this mean for current and future childcare providers?
The American Families Plan won’t forget those supporting families every step of the way. Current and future early childhood educators will receive a host of benefits as well. Job-embedded coaching, professional development, livable wages that reflect the importance of their work are all part of President Biden’s plans for a future where quality education is prioritized.
$15/hr minimum wage
All employees of centres in the Head Start Program or participating pre-K programs will earn at least $15/hr. Those with qualifications comparable to educators working in the public school system will receive an income similar to that of kindergarten teachers. The Biden Administration hopes that this minimum wage will lead to better quality care for students at their centers and their own families at home.
The Biden Administration also recognizes that there is a real demand for ECE teachers. More than that, it seems like the American government finally realizes how important educators are in this country. That’s why the President’s plan will also invest in tuition-free community college and scholarships for those wishing to become early childhood educators. Once those wishing to be ECEs are working in the classroom, they will also receive job-embedded coaching, professional development, and wages that reflect the importance of their work. This will make the teachers working in your center happy and thrive in their goals to help kids become the best version of themselves possible.
We know that for an educator, school doesn’t stop once you start working. Professional development and credential courses can cost an arm and a leg that often come out of your own pocket. That’s why the Biden Administration is pledging to help current educators earn in-demand and professional credentials by investing $1.6 billion to give educators the opportunity to obtain additional certifications. It is estimated that this investment will support more than 100,000 educators
By investing in the professional development of educators, The American Families Plan is also helping your center meet QRIS requirements to get to the next level. Increase your star level and quality of your centre by taking advantage of the American Families Plan.
Invest in high-quality child care.
Funding will also be available to cover the true cost of high-quality early childhood education. It seems like the government finally realizes that small class sizes, developmentally appropriate curriculum, age-specific classrooms, and environments inclusive of children with special needs (or Superpowers as we like to call them!) cannot be compromised. In order to ensure that all ECE classes across the country offer the highest-quality education possible, investments will go towards supporting these standards that promote children’s social-emotional and cognitive development. Once again, funding from the American Families Plan can help improve your center to get a higher QRIS rating and receive state funding.
What should you be doing now?
Keep tabs on our HiMama socials!
We’ll be posting updates about the American Families Plan on our social media, blog, and website. Keep an eye on our blog or Instagram, or join over 100,000 early childhood educators and parents and subscribe to our weekly newsletter to get the news ASAP.
Reach out to your local Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) agency
Since the American Families Plan is still in its early stages, new information is constantly coming out. Your local CCR&R agency will have all the up-to-date info you might need on how to take advantage of the new plan. Find your local CCR&R agency here.
Be a part of the conversation
Policymakers appreciate the input of people on-the-ground who will be impacted by upcoming legislation. Reach out to your elected officials and tell them what you need from the American Families Plan.
It seems like early childhood educators are finally getting the compensation they deserve. The American Families plan will allow children to receive the highest possible quality of education all while mitigating educator burnout, investing in professional development, increasing your stars ratings, and making everyone from parents to educators to center directors happy.