Lawmakers likely to make big investment in childcare

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – As budget negotiations continue in Albany, Governor Kathy Hochul and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem to be committed to dramatically expanding funding for childcare providers and the parents who rely on them.

The plan on the table would expand subsidies for parents dramatically, a family of four, for example, could qualify for the help if they make $120,000 per year.

Since March of 2021, 40 childcare programs have closed in the Finger Lakes region alone, eliminating 3,300 slots for children who need care. If parents can’t find reliable, affordable options, they can’t get or stay in the workplace.

Lawmakers have taken notice that changes are needed, “If we provide every family in New York, without co-pays or extra fees, the ability to access childcare, think how transformational that would be for our economy, for a workplace, for women in the workplace, it would just be an unbelievable benefit,” said New York State Senator Jeremy Cooney.

Governor Hochul is reportedly pushing a $3 billion allocation in the budget to make daycare subsidies available at 300% of the poverty level.

“If you’re making $120,000 a year which is pretty good money, but if you have two or three kids and you’re able to get the subsidy… you’ve got student loans, you have other bills and now we see inflation and everything’s going up, so, that makes a big difference right now,” said Jeff Pier, the CEO of the Childcare Council.

The state funding is also set to help the providers themselves with a fund to expand facilities so there is more space to accept more students and then, of course, there are employees needed to be able to do that too, “they are professionals…a lot of these people have education degrees and they’re being paid at one of the lowest wages in any industry and we have to increase that,” explains Pier.

Currently, there is a plan to do that, another fund that the state would set up in an effort to boost pay and recruitment.

The final details of the investment are still being negotiated in the budget discussions.

There are currently still subsidies available to low-income families.

More information can be found here.