There's Some Incredibly Good News (Money) For Parents In the Democrats' Covid-19 Relief Package

Illustration for article titled There's Some Incredibly Good News (Money) For Parents In the Democrats' Covid-19 Relief Package
Image: Mark Lennihan (AP)

There’s some extremely good news for parents in the covid-19 relief bill about to pass, with the support of Democrats, and Democrats alone, and signed by President Joe Biden. For a year, most parents can also expect to receive a monthly check per child under 18 years old, in addition to a one-time relief payment.


This per-child benefit has flown a little bit under the radar when compared with other aspects of the relief package, but not only will it be a huge boost for parents, it also, per the New York Times,“has the makings of a policy revolution.” The policy is an incredibly welcome sign that the federal government is taking caregiving seriously, and recognizing that raising kids is fucking expensive. Parents need money.

The benefit expands the existing child tax credit, and makes some significant changes, most notably increasing the amount per child, extending the credit to poorer families who previously weren’t able to claim the entire amount, and disbursing the payment every month instead of annually. More details, via the New York Times:

The plan establishes the benefit for a single year. But if it becomes permanent, as Democrats intend, it will greatly enlarge the safety net for the poor and the middle class at a time when the volatile modern economy often leaves families moving between those groups. More than 93 percent of children — 69 million — would receive benefits under the plan, at a one-year cost of more than $100 billion.

Hell yes, let’s make it permanent! And while Republicans are still stuck in the 1990s, making the same tired arguments that providing much-needed resources and money to parents will somehow lead to the downfall of the nuclear family, Democrats are recognizing that it is morally correct to ensure that families with children don’t live in poverty, and that providing resources to parents with young children actually helps them find work instead of say, leaving the workforce to care for their kids. What a difference from the Clinton-era years of so-called “welfare reform.”

There’s other great news for parents of young kids and the childcare workers they depend on, too—Democrats included $39 billion in funds for childcare in the relief bill. Here’s how it could possibly be spent, via HuffPost:

The money will be parceled out to states to use in a number of ways: They can give more money through subsidies to low-income parents to pay for care or boost reimbursement rates so teachers earn more money. Crucially, the money can be used to specifically help deal with the added costs of COVID-19: to pay for extra personnel, PPE, or other goods and services related to the pandemic. There are subsidies so essential workers, at any income level, can bring their kids to child care, regardless of their income level.

And the money is retroactive, so centers that are already in debt or behind on their rent or mortgage payments can catch up.

As HuffPost put it, “The infusion of cash marks a turning point when it comes to the federal government’s support of child care, a long-neglected and long-suffering stepchild of the public education system staffed primarily by underpaid women of color.”

This is all big, big news for families with kids, as well as childcare workers. When you get your check, thank the Democrats, and Democrats only, but especially Democratic voters in Georgia!

Senior reporter, Jezebel



I read an article yesterday in the Seattle Times talking about diapers as a marker for poverty; that is, if a family with children cannot afford sufficient diapers, it’s a big flag for being stuck permanently in the poverty cycle. Sociologists study diaper banks as a kind of standard candle marking how widespread poverty is and what effect disasters have on a community.