Disappointed by Cuomo’s Budget Proposal, Advocates Call for $100 Million in Critical Funding
Albany, NY—On Monday, over 200 parents, child care providers, educators, faith leaders, and labor advocates joined at the Capitol Building to express their frustration and growing impatience over the lack of adequate funding for New York’s child care system.
New York’s child care costs are the highest in the nation, rivaling the cost of college or a mortgage. However, nearly 80% of those who qualify for child care assistance never get help due to inadequate funding. Parents and child care providers are disappointed with the insufficient funding for child care in the Governor’s budget.
“The availability of licensed and regulated child care options for families with young children is limited across all income levels, and is particularly acute for low-to-moderate income families. Too many working parents are being forced to reduce hours or leave the workforce altogether, and many providers are having difficulty retaining staff and meeting the rising costs of providing quality care,” said Assemblyperson Ellen Jaffee (97th District) and Assemblyperson Kimberly Jean-Pierre (11th District).
New York State is overdue in setting the new market reimbursement rates and advocates say the rate must be increased to keep the doors open and enable providers to retain staff members. The new Task Force on Child Care Accessibility is an important step toward developing long-term financing solutions and addressing structural problems, but that parents and providers can’t wait any longer for help.
“Without an increase in the market rate, Family Day Care providers will not be able to pay their assistant teachers the minimum wage,” said Doris Irizarry of ECE on the Move.
“It is becoming more difficult for community-based organizations to hire and retain state certified teachers, because they cannot compete with the DOE’s higher salaries and benefits,” said Lateefah Abdul-Jabbaar, Board Chair for RENA Daycare.
Beyond the impact on children, families, and providers, advocates assert the lack of quality, affordable child care is now impacting the available workforce. Parents can’t work if they don’t have affordable, reliable and accessible child care.
“New York has the resources to guarantee that all children have a solid, healthy start in life. There is no excuse for our state’s underinvestment in child care. Governor Cuomo can do right by our children and the people who care for them by delivering on the $100 million in child care funding,” said Blue Carreker, Campaign Manager for Citizen Action of New York.
“Immigrant families already face tremendous barriers in accessing and navigating government systems. New York State leadership and agencies must do more to reduce the impacts on vulnerable families and inform them–in a culturally responsive way–of the programs and resources available to them, such as child care subsidies,” said Danielle Demeuse, Policy Advisor for the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF).
“For many working parents, wages alone cannot pull their families out of poverty, particularly if they have to pay for child care,” said Dede Hill, Director of Policy at the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy. “New York is overdue to make a substantial investment in child care access and quality this year; New York families, children, and the hardworking child care educators that care for our youngest New Yorkers are depending on it.”
Participating organizations and coalitions included the Empire State Campaign for Child Care, Citizen Action of New York, Winning Beginning NY, and New York Union Child Care Coalition.