ALBANY – Governor Kathy Hochul is leading a push to combat child care deserts in New York State.
According to the Governor, the pandemic set back an already in-need sector.
“But what we have seen, that when there is a shortage of affordable child care, this really becomes not just a problem for a family, an economic problem for them, as well it’s an economic problem for our society,” explains Hochul.
Governor Hochul says since the pandemic, over 2,000 child care programs have shut down. For those who plan to return to work in person, this presents a big problem.
“So, what has also happened is there’s an affordability crisis,” says Hochul. “It is just too expensive for too many families and it puts it out of reach. A typical New York family has to spend 40 percent of their income on child care for two kids.”
More than 60 percent of the state is considered to be a child care desert. In Chautauqua County, for every open spot in a child care center, there are nearly six children in need.
“And so today, I’m announcing over $70 million for child care to go to 344 new child care providers, brand new providers, and that’ll create over 12,000 new slots across the State of New York. That includes 592 slots for infants and toddlers,” boasts Hochul.
The funding for this initiative comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, with Western New York slated to receive over $4 million for 27 new child care centers. An additional $30 million will be spent to improve and expand already existing centers across the state.
“So, to close this is on top of our $7 billion record investment in child care over the next few years. I already announced over $2 billion in child care subsidies, and our child care subsidies right now have an average benefit of over $9,000 per child. That’s how we start meeting the needs. You help with the subsidies to families. And we have over 400,000 new slots based on the plan we put forth in our budget,” says Hochul.
The state has also expanded eligibility for family assistance, now allowing families who earn $83,000 or less to enroll for benefits.