Governor Kathy Hochul has announced that nearly $30 million has been awarded to help increase capacity at more than 400 existing state-licensed, registered, or permitted child care programs that are located in underserved areas of the state. Administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, the federal funding is part of Governor Hochul’s $100 million initiative to help increase the capacity of programs located in child care deserts -areas of the state where there is insufficient capacity to serve existing need.
“No New Yorker should ever suffer the far-reaching and heart-wrenching effects of unaffordable and inaccessible child care programs,” Governor Hochul said. “These latest awards will help New Yorkers access the quality child care programs they need to provide for their families and build careers. My administration will continue to make crucial investments in child care, ensuring working families and vulnerable populations receive the support and assistance they deserve.”
Made available through the American Rescue Plan Act, the awards to 418 existing child care providers in underserved areas will help them build their programs; recruit, train and retain workers; and support their staff in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. In July, Governor Hochul announced more than $68 million to help establish 344 new child care programs in areas of the state considered child care deserts.
Child care deserts are areas of a county where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot, or there are no available child care slots at all. Roughly 60 percent of New York State is considered a child care desert based on this criteria.
The funding awards include:
|Region||Total Awards||Number of Awardees|
|Capital Region||$ 1,719,000||38|
|Central NY||$ 1,349,000||24|
|Finger Lakes||$ 2,605,000||50|
|Mohawk Valley||$ 644,000||10|
|North Country||$ 779,500||18|
|Southern Tier||$ 620,500||12|
|Western NY||$ 4,186,000||53|
|Long Island||$ 1,974,000||17|
|New York City||$ 12,688,500||170|
This latest round of funding to address child deserts compliments Governor Hochul’s unprecedented $7 billion commitment over four years to expand access to high-quality child care to support children and families and help stimulate New York State’s continued economic recovery. Adopted as part of the FY 2023 State Budget, this commitment includes increasing the income eligibility threshold for child care subsidies to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level -$83,250 for a family of four -extending eligibility to an estimated 394,000 young children throughout the state.
This year alone, Governor Hochul provided a historic $2 billion investment to increase the number of families eligible for child care assistance and to ensure child care providers are adequately funded for their essential services. This investment includes $894 million in new funding for New York State Child Care Block Grants, which was adopted as part of the recent State Budget; more than $500 million in unspent funds previously allocated to local departments of social services; and more than $600 million in existing COVID-19 pandemic funding.
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole said, “This funding recognizes the acute shortage of infant and toddler child care and the lack of available child care in rural areas. It’s hard to go to work when you can’t find anyone to care for your child, which can also contribute to the labor shortage. Early child care experiences can shape children for the rest of their lives. OCFS is committed to supporting the creation of additional child care programs where families need them the most and for families with special needs.”
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “For many working families, affordable child care is out of reach, and the pandemic made it worse, which made it harder to go back to work. That is why I passed the American Rescue Plan with robust child-care funding. Now, $30 million in federal funding that I secured will go directly to eliminating child care deserts, creating good-paying jobs, and providing real help for struggling parents and children.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “The ongoing shortage of affordable child care in our state is nothing short of a crisis. We have to do more to support our families and our child care workers. That’s why I’m proud to have fought to pass the American Rescue Plan, legislation that is now delivering nearly $30 million in federal funding to child care providers across New York. This funding will help parents across our state return to work with the knowledge that their children are in good hands while giving child care workers the resources they need to be successful. I’ll keep working with Governor Hochul to ensure that all New York families have the support they need to thrive.”
texasstandard.news contributed to this report.