Lawmakers seek to address New York’s childcare crisis

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — As New York continues to face a childcare crisis, last week lawmakers considered policy response.

According to a recent study from Cornell University, the state’s childcare workforce is the lowest it’s been in over a decade–decreasing 11% from 2019 to 2020.

Some witnesses who testified in a senate committee hearing this week said this is because childcare providers are paid among the lowest wages.

“We are caring for the most vulnerable population of our state and our nation. We are caring for our infants, and our toddlers, and why are they being left out of the equation?” said Heidi Jo Brandt, a childcare provider of 32 years.

Some lawmakers agreed pay disparities are a significant contributing factor to the childcare crisis.

“Everyone needs to be treated equal. Every single person who has a place in the development of a child needs to be paid a wage that can keep them there,” said Sen. Rob Rolison (R-39th Senate District).

In last years budget Gov. Kathy Hochul committed more than $7 billion to be allocated over the course of four years. But some lawmakers and advocates said it’s not enough.

“The childcare sector is in free fall and the amount we budgeted so far has not been anywhere close to making it sustainable or even thriving,” said Sen. Jabari Brisport (D-25th Senate District).

Sen. Brisport added he expects the governor to match the ask of last years budget which was a minimum of $5 billion annually into stronger salaries, more expanded programs, and a higher eligibility level for parents.

The governor’s state executive budget is due next week and Sen. Brisport said the legislature will be bringing these concerns with them into budget talks to follow the governor’s budget address.


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