Letter: Restore Cuts to the Early Childhood Education and Youth Service Systems

Testimony & Public Comments

March 14, 2024

March 14, 2024

Honorable Eric L. Adams
Mayor of the City of New York City Hall
New York, NY 1007

Dear Mayor Adams:

We want to thank the Administration for meeting with us on February 26th to discuss challenges and recommendations within the early care and education and youth service systems. This letter serves as a follow-up to that meeting and our January 29th letter, and to inform the City that the Campaign for Children (C4C)1 will continue calling for the full restoration of proposed budget cuts to the early childhood education and youth service systems, and for the City to address the underlying operational issues that have prevented families and youth from fully accessing these critical services.

The FY’25 Preliminary Budget proposes to eliminate $170 million from Early Care and Education services, $20 million from Promise NYC childcare, $6.9 million from COMPASS afterschool, and $19.6 million from the Summer Rising Program. The projected $170 million cut from ECE will result in a loss of up to 15,000 seats for children, and the $6.9 million cut to COMPASS will result in the loss of 3,538 slots for youth. These cuts would devastate these systems and their workforce, and detrimentally impact access to care for children, youth and families.

These cuts are proposed while NYC is facing a severe affordability crisis: 80% of families citywide cannot afford childcare or after school programs, and in many communities, families can pay up to 63% of their annual income on these services, with the Bronx and Brooklyn being the most impacted boroughs.i In fact, the inability to secure childcare resulted in a loss of $23 billion in economic activity in NYC in 2022 and is forcing New Yorkers to leave the city.ii Those departing the city at the fastest rate in 2023 were families making between $32,000 and $65,000 annually

The actions of the Administration are at odds with previously stated goals for New York families articulated in the Blueprint for Childcare and Early Education, and in meetings related to the forthcoming COMPASS/SONYC RFP. The priority for this Administration must be to ensure high-quality care for children and youth, in tandem with action steps that bring stability to ECE and youth services system. We must fund and fix the system.

In addition to restoring funding for ECE and youth services, the city must address the operational barriers to these systems by supporting both the ECE and youth services workforce, prioritizing enrollment reforms that improve access for families, and meeting timely payment requirements for services rendered.

C4C recommends immediate action on the following to stabilize the systems:


  • Fund new ECE labor contracts that advances the next phase of salary parity between center and school- based early educators, ensuring staff left out of the first phase agreement are included, that longevity and summer service provision are factored in, and that a minimum wage floor of $25 is established for support.
  • Increase the cost-per-participant rates for COMPASS and SONYC to set a wage floor of no less than $22/hour for staff and ensure year-round contracting.

Enrollment and Access:

  • Prioritize consumer-centered outreach and enrollment, including by enabling CBOs providing child care and youth services to directly enroll children and youth onsite, and by taking immediate action to stand up community-rooted application and enrollment facilitators that prioritize filling open ECE seats and expediting access to youth services (afterschool and summer programming) in partnership with CBOs.
  • Build out a birth to five platform that offers full-day, year-round access to infant, toddler, 3K, PreK, as well as CPSE services alongside a sustained commitment to community rooted engagement and CBO
  • Establish year-round, 12-month youth services and shift to a K-8 summer program model

On Time and Full Payment:

  • Pay early care and education and youth service providers on time and catch up on payments owed
  • Fully staff DOE and DYCD divisions responsible for invoicing and payment and make permanent the ability of ECE and youth service providers to batch multiple months of
  • Ensure ECE contracts reflect the financial value needed to meet initial and forthcoming salary parity
  • Release a new RFP for the SONYC and COMPASS contracts that covers the full and actual cost of
  • Move ECE contracts out of PreKids and into PASSPORT to ensure transparency and inclusion of ECE contracted service delivery system in ongoing contracting and invoicing reforms.

It is unconscionable to make devastating cuts to services that are so fundamental to the wellbeing of children, youth and families and the city’s economic recovery.

We urge you to restore the cuts and fix these systems so that your administration can be the leader families need.


The Campaign for Children

  • Children’s Aid                                                            
  • Citizens’ Committee for Children                               
  • Good Shepherd Services
  • Day Care Council of New York   
  • FPWA
  • UJA-Federation of New York                
  •  United Neighborhood Houses
  • YMCA of Greater New York


David Banks, Chancellor, New York City Department of Education Kara Ahmed, Ed.D., Deputy Chancellor of Early Childhood Education Sheena Wright, First Deputy Mayor

Ana Almanzar, Deputy Mayor, New York City Strategic Policy Initiatives Anne Williams-Isom, Deputy Mayor, Health and Human Services

Jacques Jiha, Director, Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget

Jess Dannhauser, Commissioner, Administration for Children’s Services

Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


1 C4C was formed in 2011 by early childhood education and youth services providers, workers, parents and funders to join advocacy efforts and combat proposed cuts that would have decimated programming for children and youth in New York City. Currently, C4C has over 150 organizations in its membership, and continues to advocate for robust services and support for children, youth, and families.
i Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York (2023). CCC Brief: From Birth to Age 12. The (Un)Affordability of Child Care and Out-of-School Care in New York City. Accessed: https://cccnewyork.org/data-publications/from-birth-to-age-12- child-care-and-out-of-school-care/
ii Childcare Innovation Lab. Toward a Working Future: A Childcare Toolkit for New York City Employers. Accessed: https://edc.nyc/sites/default/files/2023-03/Childcare-Toolkit.pdf

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