Sunday, June 12, 2011

Momentum Builds in Fight to Restore Child Care Cuts

Parents and Kids Confront Mayor on Cuts and Release Report on Impact of Lack of Child Care Options on Families

Elected Officials Spend Day as Child Care Providers

Less than a week after a super majority of Council members wrote to the Mayor decrying his so-called "solution" to child care in the City, which would leave thousands of kids without care, and days after 30,000 petitions were delivered to City Hall calling on the Council and Mayor to restore the money for child care, dozens of parents and children descended on the Mayor's house to ask "What should we do with our kids if there is no child care?" and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Borough President Scott Stringer spent the day as a child care provider to show their support for the issue.

Also, today, the Center for Children’s Initiatives, a nonprofit focusing on early care and learning, issued a report along with Wachs Family Fund of the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors and Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations, with findings on what happens to New York City working families that lose child care.

The report is based on 83 interviews with NYC families eligible for a child care subsidy but unable to obtain one because of capacity cuts over the last 3 years. Strikingly, it finds that several parents reported that 311, NYC’s information line, informed them that the surest route to a child care subsidy was applying for public assistance [Executive Summary and Page 8].

Other report highlights:

  • Parents interviewed see care not only as necessary so they can work – but they increasingly cite the educational value of high quality early learning programs. Several cited how unfair it was that only families earning “six figures” have access to excellent care. [Report Executive Summary and Page 9].
  • A parent anecdote from Claudette, a home health aide earning $7.75 an hour providing care for elderly clients and the sole supporter for her 15 month old baby. When the center closed that provided care for her 15 month old while she worked full time, she desperately searched for a new caregiver. She couldn’t afford full-time care, so settled for part-time care out of her neighborhood. Claudette now has more than 45 minute commute to her part-time provider. She’s often late for work – threatening her future employment. She knows that going on public assistance would give her higher priority for care - but she’s trying to avoid that. [Report Page 3 - Sidebar]

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.”

With the Mayor’s cuts, 7,000 fewer children from low income working families will have access to child care next year,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement Association. “These children are more than just numbers – they are our city’s future, and they deserve safe, affordable, educational care that will set them on a path to success.”

Also, today, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer took part in the United Federation of Teachers “Daycare Provider for a Day” program by visiting home daycare sites where providers educate and care for pre-school children.

"Seeing firsthand how childcare providers help our children learn and grow is all the evidence you need that the Mayor's budget has the wrong priorities," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. "Today I was proud to spend a morning walking in the shoes of Linnette Ebanks and tomorrow I will continue to fight for her and the thousands of working families that depend on child care."

New York must never balance its budget on the backs of children and family, but that’s exactly what these cuts to child care and early education accomplish,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. “Despite the Mayor’s restorations, the child care system at large is still under siege, and next year 7,000 fewer children from low-income families will be able to access care. This administration has worked to gradually dismantle such a critical social safety net; in total, the city has lost 14,000 child care slots in the past four years due to cuts of this nature. New Yorkers deserve more than a half-a-loaf response from City Hall on an issue that impacts our most vulnerable constituents and their children.”