As part of the federal stimulus packages, New York is expected to receive $1.8 billion under the American Rescue Act Plan plus $469 million for child care. New York must invest these funds in the ways we know will help families and the child care sector now. And the New York Legislature, whose members are informed and directly accountable to the employers, providers and families impacted, must have oversight power in order to ensure this unprecedented amount of funding is handled and distributed effectively.
The State Assembly’s budget proposal would expand access to child care subsidies for those with the most need; reduce parent co-pays; replace a fragmented approach to eligibility with uniform statewide policies; ensure that providers are reimbursed for absences; and begin to increase compensation for the child care workforce, among many important details. This plan was the result of collaboration between Senator Jabari Brisport and Assembly member Andrew Hevesi, respective Chairs of their chamber’s Committees on Children and Families and child care providers, parents, unions, CCR&Rs, and child-serving and child advocacy organizations. Now, we have a unique opportunity to put this comprehensive plan in place for New York.
Child care in New York is at a crossroads — either we invest now in a manner that allows our child care sector to not only recover from the pandemic, but to begin a path toward universal access to quality child care for all; or we ignore our unique opportunity for change and risk sabotaging our State’s economic recovery, as well as our goals of gender, racial, and economic equality.
New York’s economy cannot recover if parents (disproportionately mothers) cannot return to the workforce. And those parents cannot return to the workforce if they cannot find a safe, nurturing, and financially viable child care provider for their children.