ALBANY – New York State legislators and childcare advocates throughout the state are calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to effectively and expeditiously release $469 million in federal childcare funding.
Officials say the funding was received after the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act on Dec. 27.
Additionally, officials explain that 25 percent of childcare programs and 70 percent of centers for school-aged children have closed their doors, and many more are currently facing financial strain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senator George Borrello was one of the speakers at the virtual event. He says that “consistent” childcare access is vital to the State’s economic rebuild.
“I’ve said many times in the past that you cannot build a house without a solid foundation, and there’s no doubt having childcare and access to childcare is the solid foundation for economic recovery here in New York State,” Borrello said. “This is an incredibly important situation because we have so many folks who don’t have access to childcare, regardless of their income level, just do not have access and we cannot get people back to work. We cannot get our economy back and moving again without a consistent childcare program.”
Beth Starks, Executive Director of the Chautauqua County Child Care Center, also spoke during the conference. She explains that New York State is in a position to help the present work force, as well as the future of the State.
“We have the opportunity in New York State, right now, to do the right thing for our current workforce, and for our state’s youngest citizens, our future,” Starks said.
The first form of relief New York received with regards to childcare came from the federal CARES Act, which allocated $169 million to New York to bolster the state’s childcare system. After direct correspondence with the Governor’s office and a series of press events that offered recommendations for this funding, officials say $128 million of New York’s CARES appropriation for childcare remains unspent.
New York State is now required to submit the official plan for its CAA childcare funding to the federal government by this Thursday. Drawing on past inefficiencies, advocates and legislators urged Governor Cuomo to implement recommendations crafted by childcare providers in order to ensure a swift and effective rollout of the funding.