Sunday, May 8, 2011

Elected Officials, Parents, Advocates and Providers Call on Mayor and Council to Fully Restore Child Care Funding in Final Budget

Coalition Commends Mayor for Finding $40 Million for Child Care as a “Good First Step” But Says the Mayor and Council Must Fully Save Child Care

In response to Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement that his Executive Budget will include $40 million more to avoid some of the drastic cuts to child care made in the Mayor’s preliminary budget proposal, the Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care called on the Mayor and City Council to find the money to fully save child care. The coalition noted that the money marks a step in the right direction, but said that the cuts to child care will still have devastating effects on children and families across the city – especially in the city’s most struggling communities.

While exact details of the Mayor’s proposal are murky, and should be clarified in the coming days, the coalition of elected officials, parents, advocates and providers noted that the Mayor only restored $40 million of the original $91 million cut to child care. In addition, in the revised budget, hundreds of early childhood classrooms remain at risk, family providers will still lose slots, and 9 day care programs remain slated to close. Furthermore, the city hasn’t provided a clear guarantee that every child currently receiving care will still be served.

We are encouraged by the fact that the Mayor recognizes the importance of child care, but this budget still means that children around the city will be deprived of care, parents will be forced to choose between child care and going to work, and child care teachers and providers will lose their jobs,” said The Rev. Dr. Emma Jordan-Simpson, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York. “The City Council and the Mayor must ensure that no child loses child care and that we maintain critical early childhood capacity in our most under-resourced communities.”

The Emergency Coalition to Save Child Care, made up of organizations representing thousands of city residents, says it will continue fighting for all children from low-income, working families who are in danger of losing child care. The Coalition, which released a report last month detailing the unequal impacts of the Mayor’s cuts, maintains that the city can’t afford to cut a single child care slot. This care allows working parents to keep their jobs, stay off public assistance, and provide their children with a strong foundation for school success.

"While it is a step in the right direction, it is unclear if what the Administration has put on the table is really an appropriate solution to the significant reduction of funding to the child care system," said Council Member Annabel Palma, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. "More conversations and details are needed since it is unclear how services can remain intact for all 16,500 children with $40 million instead of $91 million; it is also unclear what the impact will be on existing out-of-school programs, providers, child care centers and classrooms."

This seems to be a good first step,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “But until we see all the details of how child care will be maintained for children of working families, I remain concerned. We must restore all of the funding for these critical early education services because the future of New York City depends on it.”

All our city’s children deserve access to safe, affordable, and educational child care,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “These proposed cuts are destructive not only to children, but to parents and other family members who would have to bear an even tougher economic burden in the days ahead. The Mayor and City Council must make fully funding child care a priority in the final City budget.”

"The Mayor's proposal is still $50 million short of what is needed to maintain child care for 16,500 children, said Council Member David Greenfield. “The Mayor's plan would provide enough funding for only 4,400 children to attend safe, city subsidized child care programs next year, leaving 10,000 children with a fraction of the child care services and thousands more with no child care at all. Our children deserve more – they deserve a complete restoration of child care funding."

Without child care, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” said Kim Sandy, a single mother whose 3-year old son attends The Educational Alliance’s Lillian Wald Day Care Center. “I won’t be able to keep my job and provide for my family. So many parents depend on this care – for the Mayor to continue to cut child care just doesn’t make sense.”

The City Council is committed to fighting for the children of this great city,” said Council Member Steve Levin. “We are proud to stand together and say we cannot cut child care for even a single child.”

The Mayor has taken an important first step towards both recognizing the importance of early childhood education and restoring funding for our child care system,” said Jennifer March-Joly, Executive Director of Citizens' Committee for Children. “But unfortunately significant capacity will still be lost and, in the final budget, the Mayor and City Council must ensure that child care centers and family day care providers remain fully funded and that capacity remains in place for future generations of children.”

The city already has high unemployment, and cutting child care means more people out of work,” said Raglan George Jr., Executive Director of AFSCME District Council 1707. “Parents without a safe place to leave their child while they work would be forced to quit their jobs, and child care professionals would be laid off. The Mayor and the City Council must protect working families by restoring the cuts to child care in the final budget.”

The Mayor has said himself that child care and early learning programs are critical to our children’s success,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that all children have access to safe, education child care that hard-working parents can afford.”

The Mayor’s cuts to child care would hit some of New York City’s most struggling communities the hardest,” said Council Member Tish James. “In places where unemployment is already high and school achievement is already low, the last thing we should do is cut child care for working families.”


New York City’s public child care system provides subsidized care to 47,887 children from low-income families. These families are not eligible for public assistance but are defined as working poor, with an income of less than 200% of the poverty level ($36,620 for a family of three). The City’s own Community Needs Assessment released in 2008 found that the city was serving only 27 percent of eligible children in city-funded programs, and only 37 percent of all children under the age of six were being served in any early childhood setting. The Mayor’s proposed changes come on top of 14,000 child care slots that have already been lost since 2006.