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New York Invests Over $1 Billion Into Its Childcare Industry

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New York State is directing more than $1 billion to childcare centers to help stabilize the industry, and help parents get back to work. The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan and will help subsidize childcare worker’s salaries, expand programming, and increase capacities. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul has been a strong proponent for boosting childcare. She says broader economic recovery is threatened by struggling day-care centers.

“They are having a real hard time trying to get people back to work,” said Hochul. “There’s still many that are still unbelievably short staffed. That means they can’t have as many children, and that means parents are not getting back to work. We will not have a full recovery until everyone who had a job before is able to get back to work, and childcare is really the key.”

Hochul says in Onondaga and Cayuga counties, 47 of 102 licensed centers shut down. She says this federal funding provides direct support to childcare workers who have suffered during the pandemic.

“What has really been just absolutely criminal is the salaries that these individuals are paid. These are the first educators that your children are going to have outside the home,” said Hochul. “We want to treat them and elevate them like the professionals that they are. And that’ll encourage more people to go into this profession to deal with this overall shortage of staff that we’re experiencing right now."

Hochul says increased pay would also honor what she calls “frontline workers,” and treat them as the professionals they are. Centers eligible for funding have to be open since at least March and be serving children at the time of applying for a grant through Office of Children and Family Services.