Child Care Council 2020 Public Policy Agenda
Equitable access to high quality early learning programs so all parents can work and advance in their careers, all children realize their dreams and potential, and our community has the skilled and productive workforce it needs to thrive.
WHAT CURRENTLY EXISTS:
One of the most expensive places for child care in the U.S., Westchester center-based infant care averages nearly $21,000 annually. Paying for child care is tough for parents at every income level. Low-wage earning parents may qualify for the public child care subsidy program, but their parent share is high at 27% (of gross income over 100% FPL). Title XX subsidy slots are limited. Thousands of hard-working parents make too much to qualify for the child care subsidy, but far too little to pay for care on their own. As a result, parents borrow from family and friends, use credit cards, juggle their bills and select less expensive and sometimes poorer quality care. Despite high fees, most child care businesses have a hard time covering their operating expenses, a situation made worse by the annual increases to the minimum wage. Staff salaries are alarmingly low, and benefits modest, leading to high turnover that undermines consistency and quality of care. While state funding for universal preK has increased in recent years, only 14 Westchester school districts currently receive grants.
WHAT WE SUPPORT:
More investment at every level of government so that...
- Subsidy reimbursement rates increase each year until they reach NYS market rates
- Infant-toddler rates receive a higher increase to reflect the true costs of quality infant-toddler care
- School age programs are paid on a part day rather than an hourly reimbursement basis
- Parents with Title XX subsidies can enroll their children at any regulated program
- Parent co-pay is reduced from 27% to 20% of income over 100% FPL
- 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%
- PreK is available throughout NYS and in a range of settings that accommodate working parents’ schedules
- More moderate income parents access child care tax credits
- QUALITYstarsNY is fully implemented
- Steadily increasing Investments in child care subsidy, Head Start/Early Head Start and PreK Development Grants
- The Child Care for Working Families Act is passed and funded
More private investment of funds and talent from individuals, businesses and foundations so that...
- The Council awards at least 30 child care scholarships annually to working parents
- Innovative business models 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 respected as part of the larger educational system