The Center's 2011 Subsidizing Care, Supporting Work report revealed that New York’s child care services system is falling well short of its potential. The report showed how working poor families -- by earning too much to qualify for subsidized care and too little to afford the cost of child care in New York City -- were stuck between a rock and a hard place. At a time when affordable child care has become increasingly critical for low-income parents to get and hold jobs or complete a postsecondary degree, we offered seven achievable recommendations to improve the system. We are pleased to report that five of these recommendations have been implemented in the city and state budgets for FY2015.
We recommended city and state officials address shortfalls in the child care services system by identifying new funding resources and developing financing strategies for early care and education. For FY2015, the state allocated $300 million for pre-K in New York City and the city allocated new funding with $10 million for child care vouchers, $5 million for discretionary child care programs and $1.5 million for technical assistance for child care providers. And following our recommendation to stabilize child care access in low-income neighborhoods, Mayor de Blasio set a $62.5 million baseline in city funding for child care access—an amount that previously required City Council discretionary funding.
The report's other recommendations called for the city to convene stakeholders to formally advise agencies for planning around early care and education; evaluate the current facilities of child care centers as well as consider opportunities for retrofitting and mixed-uses; and accelerate the integration of data systems that are responsible for services to low-income families. The city’s FY2015 budget implemented all three of these recommendations by creating a new task force of stakeholders to develop a strategic plan for reforming New York City’s child care system, allocating $10.7 million for renovating child care centers and allocating $15.8 million for developing new technology systems for the Administration for Children’s Services’ Juvenile Justice and Early Care/Education programs.