The pandemic has magnified our nation’s failure to provide robust assistance for children and families in times of crisis. COVID-19 has also laid bare the systemic economic, social, and racial inequities embedded in our unjust systems. Today, communities of color are bearing the brunt of the fatal impacts of these injustices. People of color are more likely to have lost jobs due to COVID, are dying at more rapid rates compared to their white counterparts, and are more likely to live in poverty. As new research shows that the pandemic could cause child poverty rates to rise by 53 percent, especially for children of color, Congress must act now. Authorizing and expanding a Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund and making long-term changes to the TANF block grant are more important than ever to make sure children and families can survive this crisis. Families should not have to worry where their next meal will come from or face harsh requirements that were impossible to meet even before this pandemic.
We urge Congress to act immediately to provide crucial supports to older foster youth facing the stress and disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 18,000 youth exit foster care without a family each year, and, unfortunately, the outcomes for these young people are discouraging even in times of economic prosperity. Data indicate that on average, two in five foster youth who “age out” of care will experience episodes of homelessness and only 50 percent of youth will be employed at age 24. The COVID-19 crisis will only exacerbate these dire outcomes.
We urge USDA to use its full authority to quickly extend the rest of the nationwide waivers, and state-specific waivers such as area eligibility, until September 30, 2020, or at least August 31, 2020. Extending the waivers is not only in the interest of public health, it also provides consistency for families and eases the administrative burden on state child nutrition agencies and FNS staff. The urgency of extending these waivers now cannot be understated as schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofits are making decisions today about whether or not they will continue to operate these programs this summer.
CDF Urges Congress to Take Swift Action In Response to Continued Police Violence Against Black People Across the Country
Abusive police practices coupled with devastating state-sanctioned violence have exacted systemic brutality and fatality upon Black people since our nation’s founding. For too long, the cycle of police brutality and racism has been met with cosmetic tinkering instead of substantive structural change. We urge Congress to take swift and decisive legislative action in response to ongoing fatal police killings and other violence against Black people across our country. Federal statutory reforms are urgently needed on a range of policing issues, including use of force, police accountability, racial profiling, militarization, data collection, and training.
This pandemic has laid bare the catastrophic consequences of our nation’s failure to address hunger and poverty, especially for our children.
The HEROES Act, introduced yesterday in the House, includes critical supports to stabilize families and communities -- including expansions in access to paid sick and family leave, getting cash to families, additional nutrition benefits, and investments in housing assistance -- yet the legislation falls woefully short on support for child care.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the consequences of allowing so many children and families in America to live in poverty. Expanding and increasing the Child Tax Credit and creating a new Young Child Tax Credit will help reduce rapidly rising child poverty, provide meaningful assistance for working families, and help stabilize the economy during and beyond this pandemic.
Congress take immediate and comprehensive action to ensure equal educational opportunity during the COVID-19 public health crisis and beyond. Long term closures of early childhood settings, K12 schools, and college campuses, necessary to protect the safety and health of communities, have significantly exacerbated longstanding inequities in our educational system. Leadership and action from Congress can, and must, minimize the harm to marginalized students as long as COVID-19 continues to threaten the public health.
If enacted, the “Emergency Rental Assistance and Rental Market Stabilization Act” would provide states, localities, territories, and tribes with flexible resources to provide direct support to households in need with short- and medium-term rental assistance or to cover up to 6 months of back-rent and late fees. The funds may also be used to stabilize households by helping to address the cost of security deposits and utility deposits and payments, among other expenses.
Children and families struggling to make ends meet need more than just a one-time payment. Families need a larger and recurring monthly payment of $2,000 a month for every adult and child for the duration of the economic downturn. Families with children are disproportionately feeling the effects of this crisis. We all benefit when children and their families are fully supported.