Celebrating 21 years of leadership and achievement
After more than two decades of dedicated service and exceptional leadership, our esteemed Executive Director, Kathy Halas, has decided to step down later this year. Kathy’s impact on the Child Care Council and our community has been nothing short of transformative.
One of her most remarkable contributions has been her relentless advocacy for policy change and increased investment in child care. Kathy spearheaded successful efforts to reduce parents’ share of financial assistance (subsidy) – once as high as 27% of income over the federal poverty level and now just 1% - and increased income eligibility to families, making assistance more widely available. Most recently, she helped secure the continuation of the Westchester Works Child Care Scholarship, the most widely-available child care scholarship in our county’s history. Through her strategic vision and tireless efforts, and in partnership with supportive government leaders, early child care and education has become much more accessible and affordable for countless families.
During Kathy’s tenure, the Child Care Council tripled in size and launched many new critical initiatives to help improve the quality of early care and education available to families. These include the Quality In Action program, which supports home-based and Spanish-speaking providers, mental health support services for infant/toddler care providers throughout Westchester and the region, and an early literacy/family home library project that engages 20 child care programs annually, among others.
Recognizing that a strong child care system could be a compelling community asset, Kathy engaged and worked closely with other organizations, including the Business Council of Westchester, the Westchester County Association, Nonprofit Westchester, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, as well as with elected leaders and the business community.
Appointed by Governor Kathy Hochul following a nomination by NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Kathy serves on the NYS Child Care Availability Task Force and on the Workforce Committee of the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council, in addition to many past and present leadership positions within local organizations, including the Westchester Women’s Agenda and Nonprofit Westchester. She is a former board president of the NYS Early Care and Learning Council (ECLC), the coordinating agency for the state network of child care resource and referral agencies. She serves as co-chair of the Westchester Families Task Force, along with County Legislator Nancy Barr.
“The Board of Directors of the Child Care Council of Westchester is forever grateful to Kathy Halas for her incomparable and tireless dedication to advocating for all families, children and providers, to increase access to quality early childhood education and care across Westchester County,” said Board Co-Chair Christie Noelle Krase.
“This has been a remarkable time to work in early care and education, and there is no better place than Westchester County, with such commitment from government, business and community leaders,” said Kathy. “I have such admiration for Westchester’s child care and after school educators and am rewarded to see that the field is finally beginning to enjoy the respect it deserves. I have been blessed to work with such a wonderful team of Council colleagues and to feel the support of a wonderful Board of Directors. I look forward to the next chapter for the Council.”
Please join us in expressing our deepest appreciation to Kathy. While we will miss her in her current role, we are excited to see the ways in which her influence will continue to positively shape our community and look forward to continuing the important work she has inspired us to carry forward.