As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, the economic repercussions of this crisis have left children, families and communities reeling, while increasing long-standing racial and economic disparities. The Senate returned to work returned to work after July recess promising to act on additional COVID-19 relief legislation that their Republican leadership said would be focused on “making sure we take care of our kids.” But what Senate Republicans have proposed for the next round of relief–the HEALS Act–is completely inadequate and fails to meet the dire needs of children and families in this country.
Tell your Senators to reject the HEALS Act and get to work negotiating bold, meaningful legislation that puts the needs of vulnerable children and families children of color, immigrant children, poor children and children in the child welfare system—over wealthy businesses and corporations.
The next COVID relief package must:
- Help families meet their basic needs by boosting SNAP and Pandemic EBT, especially at a time when child hunger and housing insecurity is on the rise
- Extend the expiring eviction moratorium and provide $100 billion for emergency rental assistance to help combat rising homelessness
- Include critical measures to help reduce poverty and provide much needed cash assistance to families and children equally
- Maintain expanded unemployment insurance
- Include enhanced funding for Medicaid, $50 billion for child care, and at least $200 billion to ensure our schools can open safely
- Have the emergency investments needed to support and strengthen families that are suffering unprecedented stress and challenges and at risk of becoming involved in the child welfare system, while also providing the child welfare system with the tools they need to help those already in the system.
We cannot allow this crisis to continue to exacerbate existing disparities and hit our most vulnerable children the hardest. Learn more about CDF’s priorities for additional COVID-19 legislation, including the many critical provisions for children and families that have already been passed by the House, as well as additional measures to get children and families the assistance they desperately need and start to address growing racial and economic disparities in our country.
The Children’s Defense Fund is calling on Congress to:
- Make direct cash assistance equal for adults and children to improve children’s well-being, aid their healthy development, and reduce poverty and inequality during this unprecedented time. Low-income families with children, especially families of color, are disproportionately feeling the effects of this crisis.
- Make additional investments in SNAP and child nutrition programs to ensure children and families can access the nutritious food they need to survive especially for children who do not have regular access to meals because of school closures.
- Increase funding to ensure children can access safe, stable housing and avoid the threat of homelessness during this crisis regardless of immigration status, criminal justice history, or income.
- Ensure access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage and care for all.
- Expand child welfare funding to help protect children and strengthen families.
- Provide additional, significant, and dedicated funding for child care to offer immediate relief to the sector.
- Ensure adequate support for K-12 schools to support students and families as the unprecedented disruption to education and other critical services children receive at school continues.
- Expand paid sick days and paid family and medical leave benefits and unemployment insurance to ensure they reach all workers for the duration of this crisis.
- Ensure the safety and well-being of children and youth involved in the justice system.
- Ensure relief and access to services for all families — regardless of immigration status.