We have been busy building the momentum for #NYSUniversalChildCare, and yesterday we saw our collective power on full display! We extend our gratitude to everyone who participated — if you were at one of our events in Albany, Utica, Buffalo or New York City; if you were one of the nearly 700 people who showed your support at the Zoom gathering with the Empire State Campaign for Child Care; or if you took action online with our toolkit. Thanks to our drumbeat, the conversation about universal child care is no longer just happening among parents and providers, but has become one of the key issues being debated by the State Legislature and the Governor. Email your State Assemblymember and Senator now! Urge them to make universal child care their top priority in their budget proposals for next year.
And we’re already seeing our efforts pay off. From the beginning to the end of January, we helped to shift Governor Hochul’s child care proposal. But the Governor’s proposal is still not enough to meet the needs of our families and providers.
Here’s the bottom line: Governor Hochul’s proposal would expand eligibility for child care subsidies to some families, while doing nothing to change the child care subsidy system’s maze of rules that make it difficult or impossible for families to access it. The result would be that even after her proposed expansion is fully phased in, it would still leave out the families who are most in need of support — immigrant families; families involved in the child welfare system; families experiencing homelessness; parents with disabilities; parents experiencing unemployment; and foster families.
At the end of the day, the Governor’s proposal is just another band-aid for a crisis that requires a complete overhaul of our current system to solve. To put New York on the path for universal child care, we need state leaders to commit to a $5 billion investment in child care in 2022. Email your State Legislators now urging them to support investing $5 billion in this year’s state budget in a universal child care system.
What would that $5 billion investment get us? It would guarantee access to child care for all children, regardless of parental work status, income or immigration status this year. It would allow New York to immediately raise wages for child care providers, among the lowest paid professions, and a majority of whom are women of color and making barely enough to survive. And it would put our state on a path to transition to a truly universal system that will ensure high quality, affordable care for all children and adequately compensate child care providers at the same rate as elementary school teachers.
This investment would pay dividends in benefits for New York’s families, communities and our economy. And while it might sound like a lot, the fact is that New York already has the money to take these steps right now. Not only is it critical for families and child care providers, it is sound economic policy, and has overwhelming popular support. We just need our state leaders to fight with us. Email your State Legislators now urging them to support investing $5 billion in this year’s state budget in a universal child care system for New York’s families and communities.