Press Release: State Has Capacity to Spend Millions More on Child Care

Contact: Kristen Kerr

Co-chair, Winning Beginning NY

518/867-3517

 

February 3, 2016

State Has Capacity to Spend Millions More on Child Care

Albany, New York—According to the Fiscal Policy Institute’s (FPI) annual budget briefing, New York State can reasonably sustain at least $300 million more annually to begin making up for years of under-investment in child development.

There is an urgent need to increase funding to expand the number of child care subsidies, and to reduce and equalize parent copayments, as well as to ensure that provider inspections and other federal requirements are fully funded.

Child development advocates state that at least $190 million additional is needed in the FY 2017 budget ($90 million for implementation of federal health and safety standards and $100 million to add subsidized child care slots).

Also, according to FPI, subsidy levels and child care contract funding should be increased to ensure that all pre-school and child care teachers and support staff are adequately compensated, particularly if there is an increase in the statewide minimum wage. The state’s refundable Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit should be modified to increase benefits for households with incomes up to $80,000, such benefit increases will be particularly needed as the minimum wage rises to $15 an hour.

Quality child care contributes to child development, child safety, and the State’s economic development, the latter by helping low-income parents participate in the workforce.

However, finding for childcare subsidies remains flat compared to FY 2016. Current funding only covers 22 percent of the eligible children (130,000 children). Flat funding addresses neither the rise in the cost of child care in the State nor the increase in need. And only $10 million of the $90 million needed has been added to support child care provider inspections required under the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant Act.