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How states are using CARES Act funding to support afterschool & summer learning

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How states are using CARES Act funding to support afterschool & summer learning

This Monday, July 27, Senate Republican leadership is expected to release their long-awaited CARES 2 legislative package to provide another round of federal COVID-19 recovery and relief funding and support. While an outline of the bill suggested it will include $15 billion for child care programs and $70 billion for elementary and secondary education (with set asides for private schools as well as for schools physically reopening), we will not know specifics on support for afterschool until full legislative text is released. It is important to note as well that the measure will be subject to bipartisan negotiation before a final compromise package emerges and ultimately passes, hopefully by early August.

In the meantime – it is worth looking at how the original CARES Act funding signed into law in late March has been used at the state and local level to provide afterschool and summer learning programs (both in person and virtually) in support of students and families. As programs worked to maintain open doors for afterschool and school age care, keeping youth safe under the new health and safety requirements of COVID, many states recognized the need for increased investments in these essential spaces. Afterschool advocates worked hard with stakeholders and policymakers at the state and local level to make the case for utilizing limited CARES Act education and/or child care funding for out of school time programs. A summary below based on the Hunt Institute scan of CARES funding finds afterschool or summer supported in at least 17 states:

  • Alabama - $9 million in CARES Act Governor’s funds to support intensive before and after school tutoring resources for learning and remediation in schools
  • Arkansas - CARES Act CCDBG funds being used to increase reimbursements for school-age care providers.
  • California - $73 million for increased access to care for at-risk children and children of essential workers. Waivers will focus on current eligibility and enrollment priorities that prevent child care and afterschool programs from serving children of essential infrastructure workers. The waiver will allow eligibility for child care to prioritize essential workers, including health care professionals, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, and grocery workers.
  • Delaware – Governor CARES Act funds directed to school districts to establish compensatory services, additional tutoring, after-school programming, summer learning and perhaps weekend academies. These programs are intended to help students catch up on lost learning time.
  • Florida – For Governors education funds, SEA has advised school districts they may deploy innovative instructional models, where a minimum of 75% of the time of the program is conducted face-to-face with students and may include extended learning options, where services can be offered on Saturdays or afterschool. Additionally, the Governor’s funds will be used in part for Summer Recovery Program ($64 million); additional Strategies to Support Summer Learning ($1 million); Civic Literacy ($1 million).
  • Iowa - CARES Act CCDBG funds being used to support increased costs incurred by school-age care providers.
  • Louisiana - Gov. John Bel Edwards approved a $100,000 grant from Governor education funds to the Three O'Clock Project, a Baton Rouge-based nonprofit that provides free after-school meals to children under 18. With some public schools closing cafeterias, the Three O'Clock Project hired an additional 350 workers to meet demand. The nonprofit hopes to serve more than 30,000 children each day.
  • Maryland – Established Essential Personnel School-Age program in Stage 1 of reopening – provided vouchers to parents through CARES child care funding. Maryland ensured that there were Essential Personnel School-Age Child Care facilities available to provide care for students through the end of the school year.
  • Massachusetts - CARES Act CCDBG funds being used for school-age program grants.
  • Maine: The Mills Administration announced today that it will invest more than $8 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to further boost access to child care and support Maine's working families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Funds are expected to support licensed school age providers.
  • Minnesota – CARES Act CCDBG funds being used for school-age program grants.
  • Nebraska - DHHS is looking to use CARES Act CCDBG funding for future collaboration between DHHS and the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation's "Beyond School Bells" initiative. Discussions about potential initiatives that will support new and innovative afterschool summer programs and school age child care are underway, as the normal planned summer programs may not take place.
  • Oregon – Governor's CARES funds to be used for summer learning programs, including kindergarten transition, prioritizing efforts to ensure middle school and high school students are on track to graduate and complete credits toward their diploma.
  • Rhode Island – Governor's funds to be used in part to improve summer learning efforts and to identify best practices to address the social-emotional needs of students, staff, and families.
  • Tennessee - According to a May 17, 2020, media account, the TN Department of Human Services will give essential workers the option to send their children to a Boys and Girls Club or YMCA program for free this summer via The COVID-19 Essential Employee Child Care Payment Assistance Program.
  • Utah – CARES Act child care funds used for school age afterschool programs
  • Vermont – CARES Act child care funds used for school age afterschool programs; $6 million school-aged providers.

Additionally, a number of non-profit and small business afterschool programs were able to secure funding and loan forgiveness through the Paycheck Protection Programs (PPP). According to recently released Afterschool Alliance survey, 31% of programs surveyed applied for PPP funds and of those 84% received a loan. Furthermore, Programs that received a Paycheck Protection Program loan were almost 2.5 times more likely to physically open in some capacity compared to programs that did not receive a loan (34% vs. 14%).

We know that additional support will be needed for programs to fully serve families and students this fall. However Congress needs to hear that as well: whether by phone or email, now is the perfect time to spend a few minutes reaching out to your Senators and members of Congress to share the challenges ahead for students, families, and afterschool programs when school resumes in the late summer and early fall.

Share the impact of virtual and in-person programs on students and families; the successes, and also the challenges around sanitation and safety, local funding shortages, and the uncertainties ahead. Your elected officials at all levels – local and state as well – want to know how your students and families are doing, how the program is fairing, and what they can do to ensure students are supported by afterschool and summer in the fall. Check out our action alert tool here for a template and be sure to add your own experiences!

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