This week I received an email that child care advocates are teaming up with the United Way of New York State and heading to Albany next week to raise awareness among NY legislators about the extent to which NY families and children experience poverty and income constraints in communities around the state.
This partnership is especially important because the United Way publishes the ALICE Report – Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed – accounting for those households above the Federal Poverty Level ( in NY, $25,100 for a family of four) but below the basic cost of living (calculated at $96,624 for a family of four in Rockland, specifically 2 adults, one infant, one preschooler). According to the American Community Survey, which annually updates Census information, just about 45,000 of the almost 100,000 households in Rockland have an income under $100,000. In Rockland County, 55% of households with children live below the ALICE threshold. And that household with the infant and the preschooler – they have to fork over $2375 a month for child care.
What do all these numbers mean? They mean families are struggling to afford quality, accessible, affordable child care, to get themselves to work and to school, and to put food on the table. Families calling CCRR to find child care referrals first and foremost ask about cost, and many ask for tuition assistance. Right now we have just as many families on the waiting list as are being served by the scholarship programs.
Why all this information? Two reasons. First, data collection is vital. Data collection is the backbone of decision making – numbers tell a story. We gather those numbers with surveys. Sometimes the surveys are a few questions, and sometimes they ask for a lot of detail. If you get one from us, please fill it out – the more responses to a survey, the more accurate the information and the clearer the story.
Second, our scholarship programs are vital. Programs such as the United Way of Rockland’s Community Impact Grants, from which CCRR was just this week awarded $25,000 for the UW Child Care Tuition Scholarship Program, and the Jane Brown Tuition Scholarship Fund, inspired by the United Way’s program, are so terribly important. Monetary support for these programs and donations to CCRR offer families financial assistance and peace of mind.