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Highlights Historic State Budget Funding for More Equitable, Affordable and Accessible Child Care
The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) today held an Early Childhood Educator and Child Care Provider Appreciation Celebration to recognize child care providers for their deep commitment to young children and families. This year’s celebration was held as record funding in the recently passed FY 2023-24 New York State budget continues New York’s efforts to make child care more equitable, affordable and accessible.
“I speak on behalf of all New Yorkers when saying ‘thank you’ to Governor Kathy Hochul for understanding just how important child care is to our families,” said OCFS Acting Commissioner Suzanne Miles-Gustave. “Our historic assistance to both providers and parents is transforming the State’s child care system and creating more program options. Safe, high-quality and equitable early education and child care is vital to the well-being and healthy development of young children, as well as strengthening families and communities.”
Miles-Gustave also shared a proclamation from Governor Hochul declaring May 8-12 Early Childhood Educator and Child Care Provider Appreciation Week.
The celebration was held at Kid Central Child Care, an OCFS-licensed privately owned and operated day care center in Colonie. Kid Central has been the recipient of two OCFS-administered child care grants, one of which has been used for workforce retention efforts.
“New York State’s nation-leading commitment to child care provides even more funding for additional groundbreaking initiatives designed to support children, families and the child care workforce,” said Nora Yates, OCFS Deputy Commissioner for the Division of Child Care Services. “This year’s investments also reward our deserving providers through workforce retention grants that aim to increase wages and help programs recruit and retain staff and ensure the stability of child care programs as the demand for services continues to grow.”
The recently passed Enacted Budget builds on the extraordinary momentum from last year, increasing the state’s child care assistance commitment to an unprecedented $7.6 billion over four years. This will be supported by a planned statewide electronic platform to streamline and centralize the application process for families to check if they may be eligible for child care assistance and can apply for it.
Other child care initiatives funded in the FY 23-24 State budget include:
  • Dedicating $500 million in underutilized federal funds for a workforce retention grant program that will provide payments to child care providers at 17,000 programs statewide.  The funding will benefit an estimated 250,000 caregivers and can be used for payroll tax assistance, staff recruitment strategies, sign-on bonuses for new employees and other expenses related to hiring staff.
  • Investing $4.8 million 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% and 100% of the state median income to qualify. The pilot will operate in three separate regions in the state. Allocating $1 million to create a statewide business navigator program to assist businesses that are interested in further supporting the child care needs of their employees.
  • Expanding eligibility for child care assistance by raising the income limit to the maximum allowed by federal law – enabling the families of more than 110,000 additional children to become eligible for assistance for the first time.
Albany County Children, Youth & Families Commissioner Moira Manning said, “Albany County Department for Children, Youth and Families wishes to acknowledge our appreciation to the dedicated educators and child care staff who provide quality care to our most vulnerable population, our children. These child care providers are committed to our children, day in and day out, to ensure their educational, emotional, developmental and behavioral needs are being met. The benefits for families extend far beyond our county to the entire state.”
About the New York State Office of Children and Family Services:
The Office of Children and Family Services serves New York's public by promoting the safety, permanency and well-being of children, families and communities. The agency provides a system of family support, juvenile justice, youth development, child care and child welfare services and is responsible for programs and services involving foster care, adoption and adoption assistance, child protective services, preventive services for children and families, and protective programs for vulnerable adults.