June 28, 2022
By Isabel Song Beer
Mayor Eric Adams announced a $2 billion investment over the next four years in early childcare and childhood education, including allocating funding to undocumented families.
Along with the announcement, Hizzoner established the Big Apple’s first Office of Childcare and Early Childhood Education while also creating career training and professional development opportunities in partnership with CUNY — highlighting his own experiences growing up with few opportunities that forced his family to fend for scraps, just as many city dwellers have been forced to do during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a child, my mother had to work three jobs and still find a way to take care of me and my siblings. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 375,000 parents were forced to quit or downshift their jobs because they had no other way to take care of their children,” the mayor said. “Now, my administration is working to make sure no parent has to make that hard choice between child care and putting food on their table again.”
In his “Blueprint for Child Care & Early Childhood Education in New York City” plan announced June 28, Adams outlined essential steps to ensuring high-quality, equitable and accessible childcare to thousands of New Yorkers.
Some of these steps include increasing outreach for families in temporary housing to expanding opportunities for early childhood professionals, to cutting red tape for background checks.
By expanding access to care for the city’s 500,000 children under five years old, and supporting parents and guardians, the blueprint aims to support working families and allow them to get back to work.
“Our new blueprint is a historic investment in the future of our children, the future of working families, and the future of our city. We’re going to increase access to child care for more than 41,000 children across New York City,” he said. “It used to take a village to raise a child, but these days, it takes a city — New York City.”
Other city officials emphasized that the investment will not only provide much needed aid to struggling families, but will also boost the economy by allowing families to get back to work.
“Family members who leave work to care for a child not only lose out on their income in that instant, but also on wage and career growth,” said Deputy Mayor of Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright. “When parents downshift their careers or leave their jobs due to child care inaccessibility, the city’s economy suffers.”
“‘A Blueprint for Childcare & Early Childhood Education in New York City’ allows parents, especially parents of color, to progress and allows our youngest New Yorkers to get the academic setting they deserve.”
Leading NYC child advocacy group, Citizens’ Committee for Children (CCC) praised Mayor Adams’ decision and his administration’s blueprint.
“We applaud the Adams administration’s Blueprint for Child Care and Early Childhood Education in New York City, which correctly calls out the importance of NYC’s child care and early education system to New Yorkers and our city’s economic recovery,” said CCC Executive Director Jennifer March.
The group also highlighted the positive impact the proposal will have on immigrants and noncitizens, who have traditionally been left behind by other government-run programs, saying that they have the “highest unmet needs” and will provide long-sought stability to immigrants, who represent around 5.8 million New Yorkers.
“We support the blueprint’s legislative priorities and action steps as they expand access for children birth to five years of age and pay special attention to children in immigrant households, children who are homeless, children in communities with high unmet need, in addition to reaching greater numbers of infants and toddlers and supporting year-round, full day care,” March continued. “We are also pleased that the plan identifies goals designed to bring greater stability to the early care and education sector and to address impediments to timely contract registration and payment, and workforce staffing and stability.”