Empire Justice Center writes to comment on the emergency/proposed regulations which appeared in the June 15, 2016 New York State Register regarding market rates effective June 1, 2016. Empire Justice Center is a non-profit legal services organization with offices throughout New York State in Albany, Rochester, Westchester and on Long Island. Our mission is to protect and strengthen the legal rights of people in New York State who are poor, disabled or disenfranchised through systems change advocacy, training and support to other advocates and organizations, and high quality direct civil legal representation. We focus on a number of issues affecting low income individuals and families such as public benefits, including SNAP, cash assistance and child care issues. We closely follow state law and policy regarding child care, because affordable quality child care is critical to the ability of low income working families to succeed and escape poverty.
One of the cornerstones of the Child Care Development Block Grant is that low income children be provided access to child care that is comparable to care available to children that do not receive subsidies. 42 USC 9858c(c)(4)(A). Our primary concern with the proposed market rates is that they are too low to provide equal access to all children. The federal Office of Child Care, Administration for Children and Families, advised the state, when conditionally approving its child care plan, that New York’s rates “may not allow for equal access,” and that “OCC plans to make a review of payment rates a priority for your upcoming monitoring visits.
These comments point out two reasons why this is true and request that the market rate survey be redone immediately to reflect two important changes that have dramatically increased the cost of child care – the increase in the minimum wage, and the increase in worker’s compensation premiums for child care centers.
For more information, please contact:
Susan C. Antos
Empire Justice Center
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210