With the Build Back Better plan (BBB) currently facing an uncertain future in the Senate, substantial investments in children that would expand on earlier pandemic responses also hang in the balance.

The House-passed Build Back Better bill would continue several pandemic relief programs for children, including the expanded child tax credit, nutrition benefits, and access to health care, that have helped families weather the pandemic. The plan would also expand existing programs and create new ones to increase access to affordable housing, preschool, child care, and paid leave. Altogether, the version of the bill passed by the House of Representatives would allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in support for children and make a transformative difference in their well-being.

If enacted, we estimate the House version of BBB would increase spending on children by $575 billion over the next decade, equivalent to nearly a full year of federal expenditures on children before the pandemic. Spending on children accounts for 39 percent of the $1.5 trillion in BBB outlays (all figures in 2021 dollars to adjust for inflation). These estimates are based on Congressional Budget Office estimates of the bill enacted by the House on November 19 and Kids’ Share estimates of the share of programs benefiting children.

If additional tax reductions benefiting families with children are included as well, our estimate increases to $605 billion supporting children in BBB. These new investments would come on top of a historic $630 billion increase in federal support for children already enacted as part of the federal government’s pandemic response.

Read the full article about investments in children by Cary Lou and Julia B. Isaacs at Urban Institute.