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More than ever, the benefits of high-quality early childhood education are needed for young children. In addition to the vital role it plays in child development, early care and education is also crucial to economic recovery and supporting working families. Over 325,000 New York children have been pushed into or near poverty due to the economic downturn, and the pandemic has had a detrimental impact on caregiving arrangements, forcing many parents and particularly women out of the workforce.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey, 1 in 5 NY adults aged 25 to 44 – including 1 in 4 women – report child care responsibilities as the primary reason for being out of work. To keep caregivers in the workforce or to help them return to the workforce, as well as to provide developmental support for children, we must focus on ensuring that child care is and continues to be high-quality and accessible for New York’s children and families.
Even before the pandemic, parents with young children have struggled to access affordable childcare. Our recent analysis, Child and Family Well-being in New York State showed that 33 New York counties have fewer than 50% of three and four-year-olds enrolled in early education programs. It is critical that investments in child care subsidies and pre-kindergarten increase and promote school readiness as well as facilitate parents’ reentry into the workforce.
Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 includes $40 million to lower some family co-pays. But given the needs that exist statewide, New York has a unique opportunity to make building-block investments and long-term structural changes to its child care system. New York is set to receive approximately $469 million dollars from the December 2020 federal stimulus act, and that money can and should be used to dramatically expand access to child care and child care subsidies across the state.
CCC, along with its partners in the Empire State Campaign for Child Care, urge the legislature to use the federal funds and raise state revenue as necessary, to do the following:
Join us in calling on State leaders to expand access to high-quality and affordable early education.