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Governor Hochul Announces Child Care Desert Grant Awardees Receive Nearly $70 Million in Federal Funding

 Funding Supports New Child Care Programs in Areas Without Sufficient Child Care Slots

Part of Historic $7 Billion Investment in Child Care in FY 2023 State Budget
Highlights Legislation (S.8033A/A.8528A) Making Diapers More Affordable by Exempting Them from All Sales and Use Taxes
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that nearly $70 million in grant funding has been awarded to newly licensed, registered or permitted child care programs in areas of the state without sufficient child care slots, known as child care deserts. The funds, which are part of the $100 million child care desert initiative approved in the Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget, were made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and are administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. The grants will help new child care providers in underserved areas build their programs, cover start-up and personnel costs, recruit, train, and retain staff, and support staff in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Additionally, the Governor highlighted legislation (S.8033A/A.8528A) that will help make diapers more affordable by exempting adult and children’’s diapers, including disposable diapers, from all sales and use taxes.
"Expanding child care options for working families is personal to me. As a young mom, I had to leave my job due to lack of access to affordable child care," Governor Hochul said. "I want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the Congressional delegation for helping secure this critical funding. New York remains committed to eradicating child care deserts, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all parents have access to this vital lifeline."
"Insufficient child care resources have a tremendous effect on our economy, keeping parents from returning to work," said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. "It is critical for us to improve care, especially in underserved areas where parents have to struggle with the painful and unacceptable choices of whether to keep their jobs and leave their young children home alone with no care at all or quit their jobs and not be able to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads."
For this funding opportunity, a child care desert is defined as a census tract where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot, or there are no available child care slots in the tract. Based on this criteria, more than 60 percent of New York State is considered a child care desert. All census tracts in New York State have been mapped to identify deserts. Anyone can review the child care desert map to discern if they live in a child care desert. Additional information about the grant can be found in the RFA.
The Fiscal Year 2023 Enacted Budget includes a historic investment to expand access to high-quality child care to support children and families and help stimulate New York State’’s continued economic recovery. It includes an unprecedented $7 billion investment over four years and increases the income eligibility threshold for child care assistance in August 2022 to 300 percent of the Federal Poverty Level ($83,250 for a family of four)—extending eligibility to more than half of New York State’’s young children.
Additionally, Governor Hochul highlighted legislation (S.8033A/A.8528A) that will help make diapers more affordable by exempting adult and children’’s diapers, including disposable diapers, from all sales and use taxes. Diapers are often a very large, if not the largest, expense for parents caring for infants and individuals caring for seniors. Although existing law exempts these diapers from the State’’s four percent sales tax, there are multiple counties and jurisdictions that do not provide for a local exemption. This bill will ensure that adult and children’’s diapers are not subject to this tax by counties or jurisdictions and follow the state exemption.
State Senator Jamaal Bailey said, "As a dad to two young girls, childcare access is deeply personal. Lack of affordable childcare is an economic justice and social justice issue that disproportionately impacts women of color and communities in child care deserts like the Bronx. I want to thank Governor Hochul for this bold investment in quality, affordable childcare and for signing my bill with Assemblyman Sayegh to end local taxes on diapers. Diapers are often the largest expense for parents and caretakers across the state. Today’’s investment is a huge step in the right direction and will help families in the Bronx and across New York State afford their essential childcare needs."
Assemblymember Nader Sayegh said, "Eliminating the sales tax on diapers will help working families and older adults on fixed incomes because every dollar saved right now really matters. On behalf of all the New York families that struggle financially to provide enough dry diapers for their babies, and for the volunteers at the not-for-profit diaper banks across the state working to help them, I thank my Assembly and Senate Colleagues for voting unanimously in favor of my legislation, and Governor Kathy Hochul for moving quickly to sign it into law."
New York remains committed to eradicating child care deserts, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all parents have access to this vital lifeline.
Governor Kathy Hochul
Total child care desert grant awardee funding broken down by region is below:
Total Awards
Number of Awardees
Capital Region
$ 3,802,000
Central NY
$ 3,830,000
Finger Lakes
$ 4,028,000
Mohawk Valley
$ 3,258,000
North Country
$ 3,081,000
Southern Tier
$ 4,148,000
Western NY
$ 4,174,000
Long Island
$ 13,368,000
$ 11,674,000
New York City
$ 16,665,000
$ 68,028,000
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole said, "This funding further recognizes the acute shortage of infant and toddler child care and the lack of available child care outside of standard business hours and days. We also ensured that diversity and equity components were built in to improve access in historically underserved neighborhoods of color and areas of high poverty. We are building child care slots as we continue to administer a range of programs in this administration’’s transformative investment in child care. This funding is a life line."
Senator Chuck Schumer said, "Affordable child care is a waxing challenge for families everywhere and essential for our economic recovery. That is why when I wrote the American Rescue Plan, I made sure to include robust funding to not only help our day care and child care programs survive, but also to invest in filling the gaps in our rural and underserved communities that need child care the most. Now $70 million in federal funding that I secured will go directly to eliminating child care desserts, create good paying jobs, and provide real help for struggling parents and children."
Representative Jerrold Nadler said, "This is fantastic news for children and families across New York. Lack of access to affordable and safe child care is often one of the biggest problems for families nationwide. I am thrilled that New York will continue to be a leader in child care funding, and I am proud to have helped pass the American Rescue Plan, which made this funding possible."
Representative Gregory Meeks said, "This historic investment in child care programs, provided by federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, will go a long way to addressing the need for high quality child care for many families in the state and across my district. I applaud Governor Hochul for recognizing the inequity in access to care for underserved communities and using federal funding to help build the infrastructure for both child care providers and families needing assistance. New York’’s continued economic recovery from the unprecedented global COVID-19 pandemic relies on using all of our available resources to support improving the economic condition of our families, businesses, and communities."
Representative Brian Higgins said, "Five hundred days ago today President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law. This historic legislation aimed to support families, lift children out poverty, and build our economy back stronger than before the pandemic. When we invest in children, we invest in a stronger community. Addressing child care deserts will improve access to safe and affordable care in Western New York’’s underserved communities, ensuring that parents can actively participate in the workforce while providing the basic needs for their children."
Representative Paul Tonko said, "Investments in our kids have unparalleled benefits for our communities, our economy and the future of our nation—and with the disruptions in child care caused by the pandemic, these investments are more critical than ever. That’’s why I was proud to advance our American Rescue Plan to ensure no kid is left behind. I’’m thankful this federal support is reaching our New York communities and I will continue pushing for these critical investments that help grow our local economy while enabling Americans to build better lives for their families."
Representative Kathleen Rice said, "Access to child care is essential for families across the state of New York. Addressing child care deserts and increasing funding for high-quality and affordable child care will not only benefit children, but their families and communities as well. I was proud to vote in favor of the American Rescue Plan Act to provide this funding to states and am pleased to see that over $13 million will be directed towards child care on Long Island."
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, "One of the most critical lessons we learned during the pandemic is that day care providers are essential to the support and wellbeing of families and for too long, families in child care deserts have been left behind with very few options to provide their children with safe, quality child care. We cannot recover if we leave child care providers behind, and our families need their support today more than ever. My colleagues and I have been fighting hard in Washington to ensure that every parent has access to affordable and convenient child care, and I am grateful that we have a Governor who shares these values. I commend Governor Hochul on today’’s announcement to leverage $70 million made available by the Congress-passed American Rescue Plan, to help bring relief to struggling New York families."
Representative Joe Morelle said, "Safe and reliable child care is essential for families, but right now, too many are struggling to access it. I’’m grateful to Governor Hochul for making this issue a priority, and I’’m proud to have delivered these funds for New York through the American Rescue Plan and help lower costs for parents. I’’m committed to continuing my work in Congress to make child care more accessible and affordable to ease the burden on working families."
State Senator Robert Jackson said, "We can’’t have a strong economy without deeply investing in working families. This means prioritizing critical funding to expand and increase access to affordable child care options, so parents aren’’t forced out of the workforce. Today New York State, under Governor Hochul, takes another step in its commitment to eradicate child care deserts and supporting families in need of child care. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure every single child has access to quality and safe care."
Assemblymember Manny De Los Santos said, "This year New York State made unprecedented investments to ensure child care is more affordable and accessible for families. We are grateful to build on this through federal funding to expand child care services in communities where it is needed the most."
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, "Providing access to high quality child care is an essential part of helping our youngest grow and parents succeed, but in neighborhoods across the city parents struggle to find a seat for their child. These funds will target child care deserts for additional support and funding, helping to provide a critical life line to parents during our economic recovery from the pandemic. I applaud Governor Hochul, Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand for their leadership, and look forward to continuing this important work to support New York families."
Tara N. Gardner, Executive Director of the Day Care Council of New York, said, "The Child Care Deserts Grant is part of several important investments in New York State’’s child care which will ensure that more families have access to child care and early childhood education. Day Care council of New York was proud to work as part of the New York City Child Care Resource and Referral Consortium on supporting providers in applying for these grants and I am proud to stand with Governor Kathy Hochul for the announcement of the first set of awards. Child care and early childhood education is a transformative investment that supports children, their parents and New York’’s economy. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul and the New York State Senate and New York State Assembly to ensure that all New York’’s children have access to high-quality child care and early childhood education."
Meredith Chimento, Executive Director of the Early Care & Learning Council, said, "The Early Care & Learning Council and the network of 35 Child Care Resource & Referral agencies have partnered with NYS Office of Children and Family Services to expand child care services in the state. This investment of $70 million is a strong step toward reducing the impact of child care deserts on families and businesses. ECLC and the CCR&R network are pleased to partner with Governor Hochul and OCFS by providing child care programs the supports necessary to build and maintain a thriving business which will care for New York’’s youngest learners."