Public Policy and Advocacy Update

Government Funding

As many businesses continue to struggle finding employees, problems finding and/or paying for child care remains a key factor.

In its May Policy Symposium, Child Care Aware of America featured Indra Nooyi, former CEO of PepsiCo, who stated "Improving our care infastructure for all working families - to take advantage of the promise of America - is within our grasp. We just need to commit to it. Together." She referenced her own journey to the top of the corporate world as having only been possible because she was able to care for her children and her parents. She acknowledged that such options still do not exist for too many parents in the U.S., especially women.

We did not realize all that we hoped for in the NYS budget, though significant progress was made. New attempts to provide more federal funding for child care and PreK emerged, though the road to passage remains uncertain.

Happily, in Westchester, families never before eligible for child care financial assistance were invited to apply to us for the Westchester Works Child Care Scholarship, made possible by generous funding from the County.

On Friday, May 6th, we recognized National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, while Westchester County Executive George Latimer dedicated the day for Westchester child care providers, including a congratulatory announcement on the "big board" outside the County Center.

The work in the field remains very, very difficult. COVID is still with us, families are stressed, and the demands on child care programs are daunting. We owe the entire sector a great deal, so we have to work even harder on its behalf.

Westchester County

Westchester County increased its child care funding for 2022 by $10 million dollars over projected spending in 2021. This amazing investment benefitted both parents and child care businesses, and was a collaborative effort of the Latimer Administration and the Board of Legislators.

  • Title XX child care subsidies were opened up for new working families
  • DSS contracted with the Council to administer the new Westchester Works Child Care Scholarship Program for working parents up to 350% FPL
  • DSS prepared to raise subsidy reimbursement rates up to NYS Market Rates

We know of no other county in NYS that moved so boldly on child care as did Westchester. We are deeply grateful to the County Executive and his team, and the entire Westchester County Board of Legislators.

We hope that everyone working in the critically important field of child care and after school as well as parents will see that advocacy does matter, and that elected officials do respond!

We remind everyone that our advocacy was more effective because we were able to make a more definitive case for the need, based on data. We had worked closely with DSS earlier in the year, with the help of consultant Grace Reef, to deepen our own understanding of child care needs in Westchester. If you haven't read the resultant report, Access to Child Care: The Key to Economic Recovery in Westchester, do so now. The report spelled out that there are 114,564 children under 13 years in Westchester whose parents work. And a whooping 45,007 or 39% of them are in families with incomes under 400% FPL - meaning that they do not earn enough to meet their basic needs, including child care. This number includes 26, 483 children under age 6. It's a must read.

To view Access to Child Care: The Key to Economic Recovery in Westchester, pdfclick here.

New York State

While the enacted 22-23 NYS budget clearly contained great news on child care, we are still awaiting some of the details. The "ask" this year was bold - $5 billion to start NYS on the road to a truly universal system of child care, and significantly boost child care workforce compensation.

Highlights include:

  • Working parents with incomes under 300% FPL will be eligible for the subsidy, a big increase from 200%
  • Parent share remains at 10% of income over the FPL
  • Work requirements for parents in higher education have been eliminated
  • $343 stabilization fund will help child care programs with workforce expenses
  • A new $50 million capital fund can assist new and existing programs expand, make improvements to their facilities

On May 20th, we joined with our Mid-Hudson region CCR&R partners to host a virtual "progress report" on the NYS budget results. Our audience of over 150 child care providers, parents, community leaders, elected officials and CCR&R staff and board members heard our thanks to the Governor and the Legislature for its increased investments in child care. But we also emphasized that there is much more to be done that will require child care to be a priority in next year's budget, and they year after that and maybe even the year after that...until we have built the system that we need.

To remind you of where the NYS child care system needs to go, re-read the Child Care Availability Task Force Report, issued in Spring 2021. To view the Task Force Report, click pdfhere.

You can also take another look at Sen. Jabari Brisport's report on his child care listening tour last year or his bill, the "Universal Child Care Act." You can view both here.

If you are not a member of the Empire State Campaign for Child Care (ESCCC), an increasingly robust and vocal group of child care advocates, parents, early childhood professionals,etc., sign up today. The Council has been an active participant in the Campaign since its inception and we urge everyone to get involved.

United States

Child care has been the recipient of several rounds of critically-needed federal funding over the course of the COVID pandemic. While these actions clearly kept the industry alive, it did not take the place of the longer-term strategy and more robust investment that the U.S. needs to undertake. To see more about what is really needed, see this statement by the Center on American Progress, here.

There is still hope however, most recently in the form of a new bill introduced by Senator Patty Murray and Senator Tim Kaine. It is estimated that an additional million U.S. children could benefit if this proposal is part of a successful budget reconciliation process. The $72 billion add for Child Care and Development Block Grant over 6 years could mean an extra half a billion dollars to NY each year. To see more details on the proposal from CLASP, click here.

WE NEED YOU

Whether you want to lend your voice to our advocacy work or want to volunteer with us in some capacity, we would love to have you join us.

To talk about available opportunities, or to sign up for our Advocacy Alerts, contact Executive Director Kathy Halas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 1-914-761-3456 x 102.

COST OF NOT INVESTING IN QUALITy EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION

Recent report on U.S. child care supply finds that about half the nation does not have an adequate supply of licensed child care. New York is one of the states with the highest percentage, with 64% of parents living in a child care desert. The authors find a link between fewer child care deserts and higher maternal labor force participation. Download here: 2018 Child Care Deserts

keeping up with child care in the news

It is almost impossible to track all the research, reports and opinion pieces on child care and early learning these days. pdfClick here to view the latest resources.

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Contact Us

Child Care Council of Westchester, Inc.

313 Central Park Avenue
Scarsdale, New York 10583

Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Child Care Specialists extended hours are available on Tuesdays until 7pm to help you make an informed decision about child care.

Phone: (914) 761-3456
Toll-Free: 1 (844) 387-7525

Fax: (914) 761-1957

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