“If the United States treated other elements of infrastructure that are critical to the economy the way it does child care, you could imagine the chaos: Car owners would be left building bridges out of duct tape and scrap iron to get to the office, begging close relatives to come by each morning to hold a traffic light up at the corner.” Emily Peck, NYT, May 9, 2021 Policymakers Used to Ignore Child Care. Then Came the Pandemic.
As we shift to a new, more open phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, families still struggle with decisions around child care. Parents and caregivers who have worked from home may now face returning to their workplace. Those who may have relied on other family members to help care for their children may have to consider alternative arrangements. And all the while, questions of sustainability, capacity, and the cost of care looms.
New York State’s plan to spend the $2.4B it will receive from the federal government over the next few years will help families receiving child care subsidies; will continue funding child care tuition scholarships; will increase the Employer Child Care Tax Credit to $500k annually; and will invest $105M in expanding access to PreK. These are important steps in meeting the goals of Governor Cuomo's Child Care Availability Task Force.
The child care resource and referral agencies in the lower Hudson Valley – The Child Care Council of Dutchess and Putnam, Inc.; The Child Care Council of Orange County; Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc.; Family of Woodstock (Ulster); Sullivan County Child Care Council, Inc.; and The Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc. - are working together to advocate for our regional priorities:
- Increase child care access for parents
- Strengthen child care businesses
- Continue administering child care scholarship and program/provider operations assistance
- Build the business capacity of child care programs and providers
- Raise the program quality of child care
- Extend mental health services and supports to preschoolers and the child care workforce
- Provide more parents with home visiting services
We are also developing testimony on the state’s FFY 2022-2024 proposed Child Care and Development Fund Plan. The NYS Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) has announced virtual public hearings for NY’s proposed plan to receive assistance under the federal Social Security Act and the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014. Information regarding the virtual public hearings and how to register is available at https://ocfs.ny.gov/programs/childcare/stateplan/hearings.php. The purpose of this federal block grant program is to increase the availability, affordability, and quality of child care services as well as before- and after- school services.
CCRR will continue to speak up for our children, our families, and our providers. We encourage you to continue your advocacy by contacting us, your state and local elected representatives, OCFS, and by submitting your thoughts and comments on NYS’s proposed Child Care and Development Fund Plan.