Child Care And Food Security
The state of Maryland recently announces that Maryland schools will stay closed through April 24th. We recognize that parents in Maryland and across the country will have to ensure that their children are cared for while continuing to work to support their families. That is why my colleagues and I are determined to find child care solutions for America’s workers, beginning with those who are on the front lines of this health crisis.
The new stimulus package includes $3.5 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care assistance to health care sector employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers deemed essential during the response to the coronavirus. Maryland would receive more than $45 million for these purposes.
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One of our priorities in responding to the coronavirus outbreak has been to ensure that children and families maintain uninterrupted access to the nutritional programs that they rely upon. Not only that, but we want to make these programs more robust and more accessible. Fortunately, the legislation we have passed so far accomplishes these goals by:
- Providing funds for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and granting authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to waive certain requirements that could hinder service to WIC participants during the pandemic. For example, in Maryland, the in-person registration requirement has been waived so that you can now receive your benefits remotely. To learn more about WIC, including if you are eligible and how to apply, click here.
- Appropriating $850 million for local food banks to meet higher demand for nutritious food for low-income Americans during the pandemic through the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). With many communities suffering from job losses, food banks have seen increased demand. These funds are critical so food banks can continue to assist those Americans most in need.
- Suspending work training requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (i.e., food stamps) and providing other flexibilities to the program. The most recent COVID-19 bill also includes $15.5 billion in additional funding for SNAP to ensure all Americans receive the food they need. To learn more about Maryland’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), click here. To file an application, click here.
- Removing administrative requirements that will allow for increased access to healthy meals for children who would otherwise depend on school meals for nutrition, and providing $8.8 billion in additional funding for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure children receive meals while school is not in session. The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) now has the capability to provide three meals a day, and a snack, to students impacted by the statewide closure of schools. MSDE has hundreds of meal distribution centers across the State, which can be found here.
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