Public Policy and Advocacy Update

Government Funding

Child care continues to struggle in the U.S. While the child care workforce has seen some growth in wages, vacancies and turnover remain high, making a demanding profession that much more difficult for those who remain.


The 23-24 NYS budget contained good news on child care, particularly for families:      
  • Income eligibility for child care assistance will rise to 85% State Median Income (SMI) (or $93,258 for a family of 4), opening up access for thousands.
  • The family co-pay will be reduced to 1% of family income above the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
  • Access to child care assistance will be streamlined and simplified with the development of online applications and categorical income eligibility.
  • A small pilot program to increase child care access for families who are currently excluded due to the immigration status has been funded.
  • The NY child tax credit will be expanded to include children 4 and under, making nearly 800,000 children newly eligible.
  • $150 million has been added to bring PreK to 20,000 more children statewide.
The results for child care and after school programs were more mixed:
  •  $500 million for a 3rd round of stabilization grants for child care programs to use for workforce retention.
  •  Reimbursement for 80 absences annually per child where care is paid for by child care assistance.
In any other year, the support for the child care sector itself would have been welcome, but “the ask” for child care workforce compensation from the Empire State Child Care Campaign, had been $1.2 billion. Without more significant and sustainable wage increases, the sector will continue to struggle.

Westchester County

In its 2023 budget, Westchester County once again signaled its understanding that access to safe, affordable, quality child care is essential for strong families and vibrant communities, by continuing the Westchester Works Child Care Scholarship Program in 2023. Families eligible for child care financial assistance saw their fees decreased as well, with the parent share reduced from 10% to 5% of income over the federal poverty level.  Child care businesses typically run on a shoestring, and the county bolstered the financial stability of Westchester’s by supporting the workforce with increased reimbursements for professional development and holidays.

United States

The failure thus far to see the level of new federal investment in child care promised by the Build Back Better Bill remains concerning.  The pandemic funding kept the child care industry from collapsing altogether, but it did not fix the gaps and fragmentation which existed before, and continue today.   An increase of nearly $2Bil in the Child Care and Development Block Grant will provide further help but does not fund the transformative changes needed in our child care system.

The Child Care for Working Families Act was reintroduced by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott.  This Act would cap family fees for child care at no more than 7% of their income.  It would also expand Head Start hours and pay the child care workforce a living wage, achieving parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience. 

To view the Child Care for Working Families Act pdfClick here


Recently, we made the case last year for more child care investment using new data, which helped us better understand how many Westchester working parents were burdened by unaffordable child care costs.  Please read the report compiled for us by consultant Grace Reef, Access to Child Care: The Key to Economic Recovery in Westchester.  The report spelled out that there were 114,564 children under 13 years in Westchester whose parents work, and a whopping 45,007 or 39% of them were in families with incomes under 400% FPL - meaning that they did 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

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 pdfClick here

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, and 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.

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.

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.


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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