Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and members of the Assembly Child Care Workgroup today announced the 2014-15 state budget agreement provides over $41 million to increase access to subsidized child care for working families.
"In recent years, the need for safe, reliable child care has increased while resources for working families have dramatically decreased. This is a critical investment that addresses the child care crisis in New York," said Silver. "Expanding access to affordable, quality child care services provide essential education programs for our children and keeps parents that need to work in the workforce."
The agreement dedicates an additional $34 million for child care subsidies to support an increase of more than 4,500 child care slots available statewide.
The budget agreement restores nearly $7.3 million to the state's Facilitated Enrollment program to provide working families with incomes up to 275% of the federal poverty level with access to affordable child care. It also makes programmatic enhancements to the child care system by requiring local social services districts to disregard the income of teens under the age of 18 for the purposes of determining a household's eligibility for child care subsidies. This aligns the child care eligibility standards with programs such as public assistance, SNAP, and HEAP.
The initiatives included in this year's state budget agreement were developed after several months of extensive research, roundtables and discussions that the Assembly's Child Care Workgroup conducted with parents, child care professionals and advocates.
The Child Care Workgroup includes Assemblymembers Catherine Nolan, Chair of the Education Committee; Carl Heastie, Chair of the Labor Committee; Michele Titus, Chair of the Social Services Committee; Aileen Gunther, Chair of the Mental Health Committee; Donna Lupardo, Chair of the Children and Families Committee; and Addie Russell, Chair of the Commission on Rural Resources.
Assemblymember Catherine Nolan said, "Child care is critical not only to the health and well-being of children and families now, but also to the long-term stability of businesses, schools and the overall community. By making child care more accessible for families, we are giving parents and children the opportunities they need to thrive in today's economy."
Assemblymember Carl Heastie said, "Quality and affordable childcare is the backbone of our workforce. When parents know their children are in good hands they can focus on getting the job done."
Assemblymember Michele Titus said, "The funding included in this year's budget supports the Assembly's expansive child care initiatives and ensures that working parents - especially working mothers - can have a career and care for their children without ever being forced to choose one over the other. Additionally, the support in the budget helps secure a brighter future for our children by increasing access to high-quality early learning opportunities. This is truly a win-win for all of New York's families."
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "When we invest in children, families thrive, businesses succeed and our economy grows. This year's budget increases access to critical child care programs and services for thousands of children across the state."
Assemblymember Addie Russell said, "In these tough economic times, the financial burden of child care makes it even harder for families to make ends meet, often forcing them to leave the workforce. Affordable childcare is an absolute necessity because every parent deserves the freedom to work if that is what is right for their family. Enhancing child care subsidies helps to make quality, affordable child care a reality for all working families and provides a solid foundation for our local child care providers to effectively run their businesses."