Albany, NY – New York State legislators from across the state joined childcare advocates this Tuesday, 2/23/2021, to call on Governor Cuomo to effectively and expeditiously release $469 million in childcare funding, which the state received from the federal government after the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) on December 27, 2020.
The topic of childcare has been a point of focus for legislators since New York implemented its lockdown measures on March 22, 2020. In this time, 25% of childcare programs and 70% of centers for school-aged children have closed their doors, and many more are currently facing financial strain.
The first form of relief New York received with regards to childcare came from the federal CARES Act, which allocated $169 million to New York to bolster the state’s childcare system. After direct correspondence with the Governor’s office and a series of press events that offered recommendations for this funding, $128 million of New York’s CARES appropriation for childcare remains unspent.
New York State is now required to submit the official plan for its CAA childcare funding to the federal government by this Thursday, February 25, 2021. Drawing on past inefficiencies, advocates and legislators urged Governor Cuomo to implement recommendations crafted by childcare providers in order to ensure a swift and effective rollout of the funding. Attendees at the press conference requested that New York State:
1. support families receiving childcare subsidies and stabilize providers through the existing subsidy system.
2. offer stabilization grants and other relief to keep childcare providers operational.
3. grant the majority of funds to the state’s 58 social services districts, relying upon the existing childcare subsidy structure to administer funds.
4. provide financial support for the hiring of employees and acquisition of resources to ensure a smooth release of this funding.
5. gather input from a group of representative stakeholders, including CCR&R providers, providers representing all childcare modalities, union representatives, and parent representatives, prior to the rollout of programs, in order to provide problem-solving opportunities and ensure programs run as intended.
Assemblymember Jen Lunsford, spoke directly to her constituents and the people of New York, “We had a childcare crisis before this pandemic, but COVID-19 has cast those issue into sharp relief. We have a unique opportunity to meet this moment by using these federal dollars to address long standing inequities and to make quality childcare affordable and accessible for our hardworking families. The time to act is now.”