Child Care Council Public Policy Agenda
2023 PUBLIC POLICY AGENDA - OUR VISION:
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.
WHERE WE ARE NOW:
- Several rounds of federal COVID relief for child care delivered critical child care financial assistance to parents, especially first responders and essential workers and operating support to child care and after school businesses.
- NYS expanded eligibility for child care financial assistance significantly, raising the income cap from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 300% - a single parent with child can now earn $54,930, up from $36,620.
- Westchester County went even further by funding child care scholarships up to 400% FPL, equal to $73,240 for a single parent with child.
- The Biden Administration’s plan to reform child care/prek funding via its Build Back Better Bill faltered; child care was left out of the Reconciliation Bill entirely.
- The extensive federal help for child care was a band-aid for a broken system, which remains; child care employers are unable to fill vacancies and thus unable to enroll children.
- Continuity of caregiving is fundamental to quality child care, completely undermined by the high turnover which continues to worsen.
WHAT WE NEED TO DO:
- Ignite the commitment to build the child care system the U.S. needs, and which exists in virtually every other developed nation.
WHAT WE ARE CALLING FOR:
More investment at every level of government so that…
- The Westchester Works Child Care Scholarship Program is renewed for families up to 400% FPL and opened up for families involved in job search activities.
- Enrollment of children experiencing homelessness in child care assistance is increased.
- The parent share is reduced from 10% to 1% of income over the Federal Poverty Level.
- Adopt the Universal Child Care Act.
- PreK is available throughout NYS at at minimum of $10,000 per full-time slot and in a range of settings that accommodate working parents’ schedules.
- New strategies are adopted to reduce the disproportionate explusion/suspension of children of color from child care and PreK settings.
- Employers utilize the NYS Employer Child Care Tax Credit Program.
- The American Families Plan makes child care free or affordable for millions of families and provides free PreK throughout the nation
- The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act further expands child care access and achieves wage and benefit parity for the child care workforce with local schools
More private investment of funds and talent from individuals, businesses and foundations so that…
- The Council continues 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 systems, funding streams and regulations so that…
- Regional Economic Development Councils integrate child care planning into economic development planning
- Child care is valued as part of the larger educational system with increased collaboration with school systems