Following a day of advocacy across the state, the Governors Office has released CARES Act funding to support the reopening and expansion of childcare programming throughout New York. Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo helped organize a statewide Child Care Day of Action last Thursday which included public events in eleven different communities across New York. Legislators and advocates joined together to call for the second round of CARES Act (CARES II) childcare funding to be awarded to programs that had applied. The next day, $50 million was released. Now, elected officials are calling for the final round to be released without restrictions.
We appreciate the Governors Office listening to our unified message that childcare is essential, said Assemblywoman Lupardo. As New York recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, we have to ensure that childcare is accessible and affordable for working parents. In order to do that, we need to make sure the last round of CARES funding is allocated without burdensome restrictions that make it difficult for providers to access the money. Programs have been there for us throughout the entire pandemic and need our help now; lets make it as easy on them as possible.
Lupardo and several Assembly colleagues sent a letter to the Governor Wednesday thanking his office for moving quickly to release CARES II funds. The letter also urged action on the final round of CARES childcare funding (CARES III), $69 million, without restrictions. According to the letter from legislators, the CARES II grant process included excessive paperwork and documentation that made it difficult for providers to actually receive funding. Lawmakers are calling for these requirements to be lifted so programs can access grants immediately.
In addition to operating grants, CARES III also includes scholarships for essential workers who need assistance paying for childcare and rent assistance for programs who have been forced to relocate because of the pandemic. The latest letter to the Governor asks that scholarships be available to any essential worker living at 400% of the federal poverty level (FPL). Currently, the eligibility threshold is set at 300% FPL.