Empire Justice Memo of Support: New York State Must Establish a Child Care Task Force

Susan Antos June 01, 2017

A.7726a (Jaffee)/S.5929a (Avella)

The shortage of quality, affordable child care is causing real hardship to working families in New York State from all walks of life: middle and low income families, families of all races and ethnicities, families who live upstate or downstate, and families in our rural communities, cities and suburbs.  New York State holds the dubious honor of ranking in the top five most expensive states for child care in the nation. [1]  The New York State Child Care Block Grant was reduced by $7 million dollars in this year’s budget, even though it only serves 17-20% of all eligible families. [2]  Further, New York State is overdue to implement new federal regulations under the Child Care and Development Block Grant, likely to cost tens of millions of dollars, drawing down the under-funded subsidy program even further.

It’s time for New York to develop a comprehensive plan to develop a statewide strategy for significantly expanding access to quality, affordable child care for all children and families, and for providing fair wages and benefits, and a path to professionalism for all childcare workers. This bill is an important first step in that process.

We recommend that resources be provided so that the task force can complete its mandated work in a thorough and timely manner.  The legislation requires the task force to undertake robust data collection and write an initial report on its findings and recommendations in a short (six month) time-frame.  We further request that, as part of its work, the task force research, identify, and recommend new, sustainable funding streams for child care, including, but not limited to, economic development funds, dedicated tax levies, and public-private partnerships.

Empire Justice Center strongly supports the passage of this bill.

End Notes:
 [1] Child Care Aware of America, Parents and the High Cost of Child Care (2016). http://www.usa.childcareaware.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/CCA_High_Cost_Appendices_2016.pdf
 [2] New York State law provides that working families are eligible for child care assistance if their income is under 200% of the federal poverty line (e.g., $40,320 for a family of 3). An analysis of Office of Child Care Administrative data and US Census data done by the Center on Law and Social Policy show that 676,000 children were eligible in 2014. Only 92,000 of those eligible children were served at any time, or 17%. Source: CLASP Analysis of Office of Child Care administrative data 2010-2014 averages and U.S. Census American Community Survey five-year estimates (2010-2014). (Analysis on file at Empire Justice Center). See also CLASP Disparate Access report which reports that only 20% of eligible children in New York State received subsidies using 2013 Office of Child Care Administrative data and U.S. Census American Community Survey three-year estimates (2011-2013) at: http://www.clasp.org/resources-and-publications/publication-1/Disparate-Access.pdf at page 29.

For more information, please contact:

Susan C. Antos
Empire Justice Center
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12210
(518) 462-6831
(518) 935-2852