Child Care Council 2021 Public Policy Agenda
Equitable access to high quality early learning programs so that all children can realize their dreams and potential, all parents can work and advance in their careers, and our community has a skilled and productive workforce.
WHAT CURRENTLY EXISTS:
Westchester child care costs more than tuition at a NYS public university. Parents at every income level struggle to pay for care. Income eligibility for the public child care subsidy is capped at 200% of Federal Poverty Level ($43,440 for family of 3). Parents borrow from family and friends, juggle bills, use credit cards, and select less expensive and sometimes poorer quality care. With COVID-19, many families have lost their jobs, and will find child care costs even more out of reach. The impact of COVID-19 on the child care industry, has been devastating – low enrollments and parents’ demand for refunds in the early months, now even higher operating costs, and reduced capacity required for safe social distancing has simultaneously raised costs and reduced revenue. Some child care businesses will not survive. The future for school age child care is particularly uncertain as the majority of programs were in school buildings and have not been allowed to operate this fall. The Federal CARES Act funding to NYS provided valuable child care financial assistance for essential workers and subsidized PPE and other re-opening supports to programs – additional recovery help will be needed for parents and early care and education programs for months to come.
WHAT WE SUPPORT:
More investment at every level of government so that...
- Subsidy reimbursement rates increase each year until they reach NYS market rates
- Parent co-pay is reduced from 25% to 20% of income over 100% FPL
- More Title XX child care slots are available
- The Westchester Child Care Scholarship Program is reinstated
- Child care subsidies are available for all eligible families
- The NYS Market Rate allows for the purchase of 75% of care options, up from 69%
- NYS Income Standards for child care eligibility are adjusted for Westchester’s higher cost of living
- PreK is available throughout NYS and in a range of settings that accommodate working parents’ schedules
- Employers utilize the NYS Employer Child Care Tax Credit Program
- The Child Care is Essential Act for $50 Billion and the Child Care for Economic Recovery Act are passed and funded
- Increased investments are made in child care subsidy, Head Start/Early Head Start and PreK
More private investment of funds and talent from individuals, businesses and foundations so that...
- The Council will continue to award child care scholarships annually to working parents
- Innovative business models are developed to expand child care options for parents, lower child care costs and increase program quality
More coordinated planning and integration of programs, funding streams and regulations so that...
- Regional Economic Development Councils integrate child care planning into economic development planning
- Child care professionals receive professional compensation with pathways for career growth
- Child care is valued as part of the larger educational system with increased communication and collaboration with school systems so that we can work together to prepare young children for educational success