Brown & Weinraub Child Care Investment memo

 In News

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 NYS Budget Invests in NYS Child Care to Address Challenges Including Quality, Accessibility, Affordability, and Coordination

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The NYS Child Care System has many challenges impacting families and employers. Child care subsidies are available for fewer than 20% of income eligible families[1].  Compounding the challenge, some families cannot afford child care even with the subsidies, and in other cases families and/or employers live in an area of the state where child care is simply unavailable — a “child care desert.” In addition, many child care providers struggle to stay in business or attract teachers due to low wages, even though for many families, child care accounts for a large expenditure. The challenges historically faced by the NYS State child care system have resulted in economic impacts on families and businesses, as well depriving young children of important early learning opportunities.

The enacted Fiscal Year 2022 NYS Budget included additional federal resources to support child care initiatives aimed at supporting essential workers — including childcare providers — and improve access to quality, affordable child care for New York families.

The budget takes an important step for the State to start to implement recommendations included in the Child Care Availability Task Force report. The Child Care Availability Task Force is comprised of representatives from the child care provider community, the advocacy community, representatives of the business community, unions that represent child care providers, representatives from several state agencies and local departments of social services. One of the taskforce recommendations was to convene a taskforce to examine federal and state statutes and regulations to identify opportunities for reform and streamline the child care system. The press release which announced this second Taskforce can be found here.

The budget includes the annual state support of $832 million in state funds for child care subsidies, the budget also includes an increase of $7M in the Federal Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for the Infant-Toddler Resource Center, which provides training and supports to child care providers, continued funding of $5 million for QUALITYstarsNY, the state’s quality rating and improvement system, and the federal government is providing $2.3 billion in stimulus funds ($469 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 and $1.8 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) to be used as follows[2]:

  • $1.25 billion for stabilization grants to keep child care providers open
  • $225 million to expand access and subsidy eligibility to 200% of the federal poverty level
  • $25 million to provide child care scholarships for essential workers
  • $291 million to support 12-month cycles for child care subsidy eligibility determinations
  • $50 million to support facilitated enrollment for child care programs
  • $192 million to limit family subsidy copays to no more than 10 percent of their income above the federal poverty level
  • $120 million to provide child care subsidy payments for up to 24 absences per year
  • $100 million to increase and expand child care capacity in child care “deserts”
  • $40 million for cleaning, personal protective equipment and other supplies for child care providers
  • $39 million to support the Quality Stars NY program and to make technology improvements in child care system

Affordable, accessible high quality child care is a critical part of reviving the NYS economy and supporting a healthy and productive workforce. Brown & Weinraub will keep clients apprised of the State’s efforts and how the funding will be distributed as it becomes available.  Additionally, if you are interested in adding your support to efforts to improve NYS’ child care system, you may wish to add your name to the Empire State Campaign for Child Care which advocates for investments in child care to support accessible high quality child care for all New York families.  Employers can plan an important role as the State continues efforts to improve the system.

[1] Schuyler-Center-Last-Look-at-NYS-2021-22-Budget.pdf (scaany.org)

[2] Governor Cuomo Announces FY 2022 Budget Invests an Historic $5 Billion in Child Care, Fulfilling Many Recommendations Included in Child Care Availability Task Force Report