Here in New York, February is Child Care Advocacy Month. As state officials work to prepare and adopt a budget by April 1st, advocates, family members, and child care providers meet with elected officials to share their thoughts about the needs of children and families. As adults, we have to speak up for our children. CCRR has long championed smart, effective child care policy, often inviting family members and providers along to share their personal perspectives. This year, CCRR has met virtually with each State legislator, and on February 24th will convene a virtual conversation between our State legislators, families, and child care providers (look for more about this event in my next blog).
The challenges families face accessing safe, quality, affordable child care had been well documented prior to the pandemic, as had the challenges child care providers face ensuring safe, nurturing, developmentally appropriate spaces where children feel loved. While the pandemic exacerbated those challenges, strides were being made. Recent investments were made in initiatives such as: expanding the number of Infant/Toddler Specialists and Mental Health Consultants; Pyramid Model implementation; trauma-informed practice and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs); and the QualityStars quality rating and improvement system.
NY was awarded over $450 million in the December 2020 congressional stimulus package, and about $50 million remains of the $163 million previously awarded in the CARES Act. NY policymakers have an unprecedented opportunity to make significant, systemic investments in child care and in support of children’s physical and mental health, building upon previous successes.
How would you like to see $500 million invested in child care? Email, call, or “at” Rockland’s State Assembly Members, State Senators, and our Congressman via social media. Share your stories – your challenges, your children's successes, even in this most extraordinary year – on behalf of all Rockland’s children.
Families can also participate in this survey from the Center for Human Services Research at the University at Albany, State University of New York. The survey asks parents/guardians about their experiences with programs and services for their children ages five and younger.
Children cannot advocate for themselves. They cannot call an elected official or travel to Albany to speak at a rally to advocate for their needs. We can, and we must.