COVID-19 Federal Legislation: Impact on Children, Working Families, and the Child Care Industry 

As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic began to spread throughout the United States, Congress responded by passing the following legislation:: 

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES Act), signed into law on March 27, 2020

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (Families First Act), signed into law on March 18, 2020

  • Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act (Coronavirus Preparedness Act), signed into law on March 6, 2020

The three bills passed by Congress and signed into law by the president contain a host of provisions designed to help the United States deal with COVID-19, both in terms of healthcare and economic impacts of the pandemic. The Louisiana Policy Institute for Children has highlighted the provisions applicable to young children, working parents, and the child care industry below as of April 1, 2020. Please note that this information may become more refined as additional regulatory guidance is issued; it is anticipated that Congress will pass additional legislation as the pandemic continues.  through the Small Business Administration; Learn more here

The CARES Act 

  • Funded: 

    • $3.5 billion in grants to states through the Child Care and Development Block Grant Program, of which approximately $65 million will be available to Louisiana;

    • $750 million for grants to all Head Start programs;

    • $1.8 billion in direct funding to Louisiana for COVID-19 related expenses; and

    • $4 billion in grants for homelessness prevention efforts.

  • Authorized direct payments to Americans who fall below certain income thresholds--$1,200 per adult and $500 per child—for more information, click here;

  • Created an array of small business loans to cover payroll, mortgage or rent payments, and utility bills—for more information, click here;

  • Increased unemployment insurance, including for furloughed employees of small businesses and some self-employed individuals—for more information, click here; and

  • Modified the tax code in regard to charitable giving in order to make more charitable gifts tax-deductible.

The Families First CARES Act 

  • Provided for up to 10 days of paid emergency sick leave for employees who work for businesses with fewer than 500 workers, to expire at the end of 2020;

  • Provided for up to 12 weeks of emergency leave for when an employee can’t work or telework because of his or her child’s school, day care, or child care is unavailable; pay is at 2/3 of normal rate, but the provision will also expire at the end of 2020;

  • Authorized payroll tax credits for qualified sick leave wages and emergency leave paid by an employer in 2020;

  • Created grants for states to process unemployment claims more efficiently; and

  • Suspended employment and training requirements for SNAP benefits until one month after the pandemic is declared over.

The Coronavirus Preparedness Act 

  • Appropriated $8.3 billion in emergency funding to respond to COVID-19, with funds spread between the Department of Health and Human Services—including the Food and Drug Administration, the CDC, and National Institutes of Health—and the Small Business Administration, Department of State, and U.S. Agency for International Development.

If you have any questions about the federal legislation passed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact RuthAnne Oakey Frost, Policy Director at Louisiana Policy Institute for Children at