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GOVERNOR HOCHUL ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT ACTIONS TO EXPAND AFFORDABLE CHILD CARE ACCESS STATEWIDE AS PART OF FY 2024 BUDGET

Expands Empire State Child Credit to Children Under Four, Supporting Nearly 630,000 Additional Children 
 
Creates New $500 Million Workforce Retention Grant Program and Supports the Child Care Workforce 
 
Establishes Employer-Sponsored Care Pilot Program Encouraging New York Employers to Provide Access to Affordable Child Care for Their Workers' Children  
 
Raises Child Care Eligibility Limits and Caps Child Care Costs for Families in Child Care Assistance Program
 
 
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced significant actions to expand access to affordable child care, invest in New York State's child care workforce and support working families as part of the FY 2024 Budget. The Budget expands the Empire State Child Tax Credit to children under the age of four; grows the Workforce Retention Grant Program with a $500 million investment to support an estimated 250,000 caregivers; creates New York's new Employer Sponsored Care Pilot Program to help workers find affordable child care through their employers; and raises caps and eligibility limits on child care costs to help more New York families access child care assistance. Together, these investments reflect the Governor's continued commitment to helping New York's children by providing families with the support and services they need to access child care. 
 
"As someone who had to put their career on pause because of a lack of affordable child care options, I understand how important this lifeline is for families," Governor Hochul said. "At the height of the pandemic, parents and caregivers were forced to quit their jobs due to a lack of affordable child care options and many have not returned since, with women having left the workforce at disproportionately high rates. This historic investment will incentivize businesses throughout the state to further support everyday families, provide much-welcome relief to working parents and caregivers, and encourage recruitment and retention for those in or interested in child care careers."
 
Expanding Tax Relief to Parents and Caregivers
The FY 2024 Budget invests in New York's families by expanding the Empire State Child Credit (ESCC) to include children under four years of age. This expansion will provide $179 million in total support for over 525,000 low and middle-income taxpayers thanks to the inclusion of nearly 630,000 additional children. The ESCC, which has excluded children under four since its inception in 2006, will now provide an additional average benefit of $340 per affected taxpayer and $284 per newly included child.
 
Supporting New York's Child Care Workforce
The Budget also utilizes $500 million in underutilized federal funds to create a state Workforce Retention Grant Program to support New York's child care workforce. The funding will be distributed through a Workforce Retention Grant Program that will benefit an estimated 250,000 caregivers. The funds allocated for the Workforce Retention Grant Program will provide bonuses for existing employees and funding for recruitment strategies, including sign-on bonuses for new employees and other related expenses.
 
Piloting Employer-Sponsored Child Care for New York Workers
As part of a historic investment in families and child care, the FY 2024 Budget also includes a $4.8 million investment in a new Employer-Sponsored Child Care Pilot Program. Participating employers, the state and employees will split the cost of child care. Families must fall between 85 percent and 100 percent of the state median income to qualify. The pilot will operate in three separate regions throughout the state, with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) releasing more details on this pilot program at a later date. Additionally, $1 million was allocated to create a statewide business navigator program to assist businesses that are interested in further supporting the child care needs of their employees. 
 
Additionally, as part of the FY 2024 Budget, Governor Hochul established a new State tax credit available to businesses that creates new child care seats and expands existing child care options for their workers. This $25 million per year credit will be administered over two years through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) and OCFS, with the new child care creation and expansion credit known as the 'Employer Child Care Tax Credit.' Additional child care seats are necessary to help parents and caregivers re-enter the workforce, address the state's labor shortage and allow employees to effectively work throughout New York State.
 
Expanding Eligibility for Child Care Assistance
The FY 2024 Budget will provide $7.6 billion over four years and further expand eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program raising the income limit to the maximum allowed by federal law, from 300 percent of the federal poverty level (or $83,250 for a family of four) to 85 percent of the state median income (or $93,200 for a family of four), assisting over 100,000 additional New York families. Families participating in the Child Care Assistance Program will also see child care costs limited to 1 percent of the total family income above the poverty line. The State will increase the number of allowable annual absences from 24 to 80 in an effort to standardize eligibility for child care assistance across the local districts.
 
Governor Hochul's Child Care Agenda
Governor Hochul's FY 2024 Budget investments build on her long record of making child care fairer, more accessible, and more affordable in New York State. As Lieutenant Governor, Governor Hochul co-chaired the State's Child Care Availability Task Force, which focused on developing innovative solutions that will improve access to quality, affordable child care in New York. And as Governor, she worked to overhaul the child care system and make historic, one-of-a-kind investments. These investments include:
  • A four-year, $7.6 billion commitment to improving the child care assistance program.
  • Creating a statewide electronic child care assistance application. 
  • Streamlining the application process for those enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
  • Incentivizing supply building by favoring applications for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that incorporate child care facility space.
 

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