Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen today highlighted more than $515 million to help Maryland childcare providers keep their doors open and reduce costs for struggling families amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funding was provided by the recently-passed American Rescue Plan and included more than $11 million for Maryland’s Head Start early childhood development centers. 

Maryland childcare centers have been on the frontlines of the pandemic, operating at significantly reduced capacity while facing unforeseen costs for sanitization and personal protective equipment. Nearly 80 percent of childcare providers reported a financial loss due to COVID-19 and almost half said they may close permanently if children stay home another six months, according to the Maryland Family Network. 

In addition to direct stimulus payments, the American Rescue Plan Maryland families with children with also see benefits through an enhanced Child Tax Credit and Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit for 2021. The legislation also includes funding for nutrition programs and eviction protections. Combined, the bill is expected to lift 52,000 Maryland children out of poverty.