As the spread of the coronavirus has grown, the vulnerabilities within our system have become clear. Children and families living in poverty already lack the financial stability to consistently access nutritious food, stable housing, basic healthcare, and other resources needed to support a child’s healthy development. As schools close, businesses close or reduce hours, consumers stay home, and events are canceled, household budgets are being stretched even thinner, putting children’s healthy development at risk. A public health crisis only exacerbates these needs when resources are scarce for everyone.

To respond to this crisis, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201) and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (H.R.748) to provide relief for America’s struggling children and families. 

Below is a summary of what has currently been included in these packages to aid children and families. As additional emergency response and funding packages are passed, we will update this page accordingly. 


  • $150 billion for states, territories, localities, and tribes. Within this provision, a total of $3 billion is allotted to DC and the territories and $8 billion is available for tribes. The remaining funds are to be dispersed based on population, with each of the 50 states assured to receive at least $1.25 billion for fiscal year 2020. These funds must be used to cover necessary costs incurred due to the coronavirus that were not accounted for in the government’s budget and occurred between March 1 and December 20, 2020.


  • Medicaid and CHIP will cover diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider visit to receive testing, with no cost to the patient. States may expand their Medicaid eligibility in order to provide COVID-19 diagnostic testing to those currently uninsured. Additionally, this only covers people who still meet the immigration requirements of the Medicaid program. 
  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently clarified that it will not consider testing, treatment, or preventive care (including vaccines if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 in a public charge inadmissibility determination, even if the health care services are covered by Medicaid.
  • $1 billion for the National Disaster Medical System including diagnostic testing (but not treatment) for COVID-19 for uninsured individuals. 
  • Ensures that American Indians and Alaskan Natives do not experience cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing, including those referred for care away from an Indian Health Service or tribal health care facility.
  • A temporary increase (6.2%) to states’ and territories’ Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for the duration of the public health emergency for COVID-19. It requires Medicaid programs to maintain eligibility standards* ensuring all eligible children and adults can get covered. The territories will also receive an increase in Medicaid allotments for 2020 and 2021.
  • In order to receive the 6.2% FMAP increase: States must not implement any eligibility standards, methodologies, or procedures that are more restrictive than those in effect in the state on January 1, 2020. For children enrolled in CHIP this Maintenance of Effort (MOE) is in place through FY2027. States cannot enforce new or increased premiums on any beneficiary greater than the amount of the premium in effect as of January 1, 2020. States may not disenroll any individual who is enrolled as of March 18, 2020 (the date of enactment) or who newly enrolls during the public health emergency period for any reason unless the individual is no longer a resident of the state or requests voluntary termination. States cannot fail to cover, without cost-sharing, testing services and treatment for COVID-19 in Medicaid, including vaccines, specialized equipment, and therapies.
  • Community Health Centers, whose patients are 30% children, funding deadline is extended until November 2020, instead of May 2020. Community health centers receive an additional $1.32 billion in emergency funds for fiscal year 2020.

Hunger and Nutrition 

  • Allows states to request emergency Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefit increases for current recipients as well as request flexibility to administer the program.
  • Allows states to provide emergency Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfers of food assistance to families with school-age children who are missing meals due to school closures of at least five days.
  • $500 million for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and option for states to waive requirements such as enrolling or recertifying for benefits in-person.
  • $15.5 billion for the SNAP program to help with caseload increases and short-term benefit increases and for $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs for a similar reason.
  • $300 million for food assistance for Puerto Rico and the territories (between both packages).
  • $850 million (between both packages) for the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Cash Assistance

  • $300 billion for one-time, direct cash assistance to low- and moderate-income individuals, children, and families quickly.
  • Full rebate amount available is $1,200 per adult ($2,400 for married couples) and $500 for each qualifying child under age 17. The children who qualify for the $500 “recovery rebate” are qualifying children for the purposes of the current Child Tax Credit (CTC) – any dependent of a taxpayer under the age of 17 who also meets the “dependent test” for that tax year. These payments serve as an advance credit for 2020 tax returns filed next year.
  • No minimum income threshold to be eligible for payments
  • There are maximum income thresholds:
    • Payment reduction begins at $75,000 and completely phases out at $99,000 for individuals
    • Payment reduction begins at $112,500 and completely phases out at $146,500 for heads of households.  
    • Payment reduction begins at $150,000 and completely phases out at $198,000 for married couples.
    • The rebate is reduced by $5 for each $100 that a taxpayer’s income exceeds the phase-out threshold.
  • Payments will not be considered income — similarly to other refundable credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the CTC — or an asset for eligibility for other programs such as SNAP
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will use a taxpayer’s return for 2019 or 2018 and Social Security benefits to calculate the size of the filer’s rebate in an effort to expedite cash assistance.
  • Note: the recovery rebates do have some unaddressed benefit gaps, listed below 
    • It will not cover certain immigrant families by requiring everyone in the household to have a Social Security Number, including households with children who are U.S. citizens.
    • It denies 17- and 18-year olds the immediate cash assistance payment even if they file as independent taxpayers in 2021. They can claim the credit when they file their 2020 tax return next year.
    • College students who are claimed as dependents are excluded as well. Full-time students ages 19 to 24 can be claimed as dependents, preventing them from receiving any direct cash payment. 
  • $1 billion for Unemployment Insurance in two phases of $500 million each.
  • $260 billion to boost all Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits by $600 per week, provide an additional 13 weeks of benefits for those who exhaust their state benefits without finding a new job, and a new program to cover additional workers for up to 39 weeks who would not normally be eligible for UI benefits.
  • Extends the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through November 30, 2020.


  • $13.5 billion for Elementary and Secondary Education Relief Fund to state education agencies based on Title I formula. Allowable use of these funds include:
    • Activities to support students experiencing homelessness under the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth program
    • Planning and coordinating for how to provide meals and technology
    • Purchasing educational technology for students
    • Mental health services and supports 
    • Ensuring access to summer learning and supplementing after school programs for students experiencing homelessness 
  • $14 billion for higher education institutions based primarily on the percentage of Pell Grant recipients. Institutions must use at least 50 percent of these funds to provide emergency financial aid to students.
  • $3 billion for a Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund for grants to schools most significantly impacted by the coronavirus.
  • Suspends monthly payments on federally-held student loans through September 2020. These months would still count towards requirements for federal loan forgiveness programs.
  • Establishes a new tax break for student aid borrowers whose employers help them repay their debt.


  • $3 billion for rental assistance to help families stay in their homes.
  • $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families with heating and cooling expenses.
  • Prohibits landlords from evicting or charging penalties for non-payment of rent for a 120-day period in the case of properties where a landlord’s mortgage is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected or assisted in any way by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Even after the 120-day moratorium expires, renters must first receive a 30-day notice before eviction proceedings can occur. This includes households receiving federal rental assistance such as Section 8 vouchers.
  • Suspends foreclosures of federally-backed mortgages until May 17, 2020.
  • $50 million for the Legal Services Corporation to civil legal aid lawyers working remotely to help households with increased civil legal issues due to coronavirus, such as eviction and other housing disputes, domestic abuse protective orders, child custody orders, unemployment benefits, and more.


  • $4 billion for assistance for those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Solutions Grants, with up to $2 billion for 2020 grantees. These funds are available through September 2022 and should be administered to include children, youth and families experiencing all forms of homelessness as defined by the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • $25 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Act Programs to supplement programs that support youth experiencing homelessness on their own.

Work Supports

Currently, there are millions of workers with children in the United States who lack access to paid sick days or paid family and medical leave to care for themselves or others. In response to increased health and caregiving needs due to the coronavirus, Congress provided a significant expansion of access to paid sick days and paid sick leave.

10 days of job-protected, emergency paid sick days:

  • Workers can receive full pay due to personal illness or need to quarantine
  • If used to care for someone else or because children are home due to school or child care closure, then only get ⅔ of pay
  • Part-time workers get the amount of pay they normally earn over a two week period
  • Workers are not required to first use sick time they have already accrued 
  • Only workers of employers of 500 or fewer are eligible for sick time
  • Department of Labor can exempt some small businesses from complying

For households that need additional time for health and caregiving needs related to the coronavirus, the bills include up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave.

  • First two weeks are covered by paid sick days provision
  • Then for up to 10 weeks, workers can receive ⅔ of pay
  • Cannot use to care for someone else who is sick or quarantined 
  • Only for workers of employers of 500 or fewer
  • Need to have worked at the job for at least 30 days
  • Department of Labor can exempt some small businesses from complying

Early Childhood 

  • $3.5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide assistance to child care providers 
  • $750 million for Head Start and Early Head Start to meet emergency staffing needs, address added operational costs, and provide summer learning opportunities
  • $5 billion for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to enable states, counties, and cities to respond to COVID-19 and the economic and housing impacts caused by it, including the expansion of community health facilities, child care centers, food banks
  • Small business provisions (child care providers are not carved out or mentioned, but some may be able to take advantage of this funding):
    • $349 billion in Small Business Administration loans for businesses with fewer than 500 employees to help cover the costs of employee salaries and benefits and other costs. This includes up to eight weeks of loan forgiveness for payroll, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities. 
    • Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $10,000 for small businesses to cover certain costs including paid sick leave for employees and maintaining payroll

Child Welfare 

  • $45 million for Title IV-B services, which can help foster parents, kinship caregivers, and residential providers respond to the outbreak. 
  • $45 million for family violence prevention and response services, including shelter and supportive services