Brooklyn, NY – On Wednesday, December 15th, Senator Jabari Brisport, Chair of the Committee on Children and Families, announced that he has introduced the Universal Child Care Act to the New York State Senate. Along with the bill, the Senator released a detailed report on the child care crisis based on his ten-week, state-wide listening tour in partnership with the Alliance for Quality Education.
The Universal Child Care Act aims to rapidly build up New York’s child care infrastructure to create a system in which child care is free for parents, and in which child care workers are paid just wages.
“It has been such an honor to shape this bill with so many parents and child care providers, and it will be an even bigger honor to fight for it with them. Winning this legislation will take all of us, but 2022 can be the year New York passes the nation’s first Universal Child Care Act,” said Senator Jabari Brisport.
This past summer, the Senator announced his plan to craft Universal Child Care legislation by touring the State to gather input from parents and child care providers throughout New York. The tour visited dozens of child care facilities and hosted 10 community conversations with a total of over a thousand participants. The findings of that tour, along with quotes from individual participants, are now available in a detailed report. (High-res copies of included photos available on request.)
The resulting bill comes at a particularly important moment, both because the pandemic has brought the child care crisis to a new level of urgency, and because New York’s new Governor, Kathy Hochul, has called child care investment a “major priority” for her first budget.
Assemblymembers Andrew Hevesi (Chair of the Assembly Committee on Children and Families) and Michaelle Solages (Assembly Deputy Majority Leader & Chair of The New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus) plan to sponsor the Universal Child Care Act in the New York Assembly.
“I’m grateful to Senator Brisport for his inspiring and tireless leadership. I look forward to working with all of our colleagues in government, including Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Stuart Cousins, Chair Weinstein and Chair Krueger to invest in childcare. Policy makers in New York will continue to work alongside those on the ground including families and providers to fight for our future and the future of our children,” said Assemblymember Andrew Hevesi.
We will create the childcare system our children and families deserve.”
“A growing body of evidence, from both the biological and social sciences, shows that smart investments early in childhood can create a lasting impact on a child’s socio-economic outcome,” stated Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages. “Today, thanks to the leadership of Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi and Senator Jabari Brisport, the question on Universal Child Care in New York is not a matter of if but when. Together, we have presented a tangible strategy to build a universal and sustainable childcare system that enhances the economic vitality of our State and provides quality care and support to New York families. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to provide the social infrastructure necessary to advance New York forward.
“We applaud Sen. Brisport for taking the time to hear from parents and child care providers across the state of New York. This report clearly demonstrates the urgency of creating universal high quality free child care for New York’s families. We need Governor Hochul and the legislature to make strategic and bold investment in child care in the 2022 State budget,” said Jasmine Gripper, Executive Director, Alliance for Quality Education.
“Having fought for universal child care and pre-K for decades, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy is thrilled that the Chairperson of the Children and Families Committee in the NYS Senate, Senator Brisport, has introduced a plan for putting quality child care within reach for all young children and families in the state. Families need reliable, high quality, affordable child care and child care providers need stable income and opportunity for growth. For too long, affordable and quality child care have been far out-of-reach for low- and middle-income families, and, for too long, the state’s diverse child care workforce has been dramatically under-compensated and under-supported. This moves us closer to a New York that gives all the state’s young children a fair chance to thrive.” Kate Breslin, President and CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.
ECE on the Move stated that “parents, childcare providers and stakeholders have been given the hope of a brand new and bold early care and education system, by making our realities the design of the Universal Child Care Act.”
“This is the moment for New York State to actualize a universal early care and education system that ensures access to high quality care for every family; a system that centers family and child needs, upholds culturally responsive and sustaining care, and reflects diverse scheduling and family dynamics. A system that honors the professional early care educator workforce in all modalities of care who are integral in creating safe spaces for our children to grow, learn, and thrive in; and one that is funded at levels reflective of the true cost of care with guaranteed fair compensation and opportunity for professional growth. The Committee for Hispanic Children & Families (CHCF) is excited to work with our state leaders and advocate allies to seize this moment” Ramon Peguero, Esq., President & CEO for the Committee for Hispanic Children & Families (CHCF).
“New York’s child care system, which was teetering on a steep precipice for decades, has been in a virtual free fall since the pandemic,” said Jessica Sager, CEO of All Our Kin, a nonprofit organization that trains, supports and sustains family child care educators. “The best way to reverse course? Support parents and educators as agents of change. We are grateful to Senator Brisport for centering their voices in this report, and for recognizing that it is time for lawmakers to act.”
“Every child has a right to safe, healthy and nurturing care. An inclusive, equitable recovery for New York requires us to finally fulfill that right,” said Pete Nabozny, Policy Director at The Children’s Agenda. “Investing in quality, affordable child care yields returns many times over by supporting the health, education, and lifelong success of our children. It will grow our economy and ensure that New Yorkers who provide professional care for the next generation receive professional wages. From our babies to our school-age children, the future of New York depends on bold transformations like Senator Bisport’s plan for universal child care.”
“Too many New York families struggle to access, high-quality, affordable child care and too many early childhood providers struggle to maintain staff and keep their doors open,” said Tara N Gardner, Executive Director of the Day Care Council of New York. “Day Care Council of New York applauds Senator Brisport for his deep engagement with our member organizations and providers throughout New York State in his child care listening tour. We are excited to embark on the next step and look forward to working with Senator Brisport and his colleagues in the legislature to achieve a budget that makes the bold investments needed to support New York’s families and the child care workers and early childhood educators who support them.”