The Promise of the Rescue Act is Up to Us Now
The American Rescue Plan Act (Rescue Act) has all the potential to be a game changer for children. Congress has done its part in passing this historic legislation that can cut the national child poverty rate in half. Now it’s up to us to do our part to ensure the billions of dollars coming to PA are put to the best use for families, schools, and communities.
There are thousands of dollars of resources available to families: a tax credit of at least $3,000 per child, food and health insurance benefits, and child care assistance and reimbursement, to name a few. But if families don’t know that help is there for them, they don’t know to access it. Be an advocate in your family and community by sharing this first-ever checklist of benefits available for families.
Far too many schools in Southeast Pennsylvania are massively underfunded, leaving students—especially Black and Hispanic students—teachers, and staff without the resources they need. Governor Wolf has proposed significant funding increases to schools (see “Advocate and Serve”) but it’s not enough to fill the COVID costs.
The Rescue Act delivers billions of dollars to Pennsylvania schools to help students catch up after months of remote learning. Schools now have the money to offer summer learning and enrichment programs, hire temporary teachers, staff, and social workers, purchase technology, and make building repairs, giving our schools the “shot in the arm” they need to recover from pandemic setbacks. Check out the PCCY Toolkit for Schools for more details and bring your suggestions to local leaders on how to best invest that money in education.
$6.5 billion is on the table for Pennsylvania counties and municipalities. That’s a lot of money that can be used to best meet the unique needs of local communities. This is another opportunity for advocates like you to make a difference. There are tremendous opportunities to help child-serving organizations, boost the appallingly low pay of child care teachers, reduce lead poisoning, and help parents find jobs.
Be an advocate in your family and community by sharing this first-ever checklist of resources available for counties and municipalities and keep an eye on your email inbox for opportunities to speak out on behalf of children and families.
“To be able to say that you’re voting for a bill that will cut the rate of child poverty in half is something that many [members of Congress couldn’t imagine]. Finally the United States Congress, working with an administration that cares about the lives of children, has begun to right ongoing wrongs as it relates to the failure to invest in our children,” said U.S. Senator Bob Casey today at PCCY’s webinar on the Rescue Act.
After more than a year of COVID-related stress, the Rescue Act is generating a national sense of optimism that is shared by Donna Fields, a Pennsylvania mom who joined the webinar today. “As a single mother of three, listening to the breakdown of this bill offers hope and security. Thank you for all your time and effort in advocating for us!”
Ms. Fields was thanking PCCY in her message, but her thanks should properly go out to all of you who will spread the word, share the documents, contact your county and local leaders, and be an advocate for kids.