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For immediate release: April 11, 2022
Phone: 5184748418


 Follows Announcement of Historic $7 Billion Investment in Child Care as Part of the State Budget

Funding Supports New Child Care Programs in Areas Without Sufficient Child Care Slots
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that $70 million in federal grant funding is available 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 2021 Enacted Budget, are being made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and will be administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
"After announcing a historic $7 billion investment in child care as part of the State Budget, I am thrilled that applications are now open for $70 million in federal funding to support new child care programs and address child care deserts across New York State," Governor Hochul said. "Bolstering child care has been a tenet of my administration since day one. All parents deserve access to high-quality child care regardless of where they live, and this funding will help address critical child care shortages in underserved areas—supporting parents as they pursue an education, thrive in the workforce, and contribute to New York State's economic rebirth." 
The grants will help new child care providers in underserved areas build their program; cover start-up and personnel costs; recruit, train and retain staff; and support staff in accessing COVID-19 vaccines. Grant applications can be submitted until May 19, 2022, with award announcements slated for June.
The opening of the child care deserts grant portal follows the passage of the FY 2023 budget, which 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 subsidies 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.
Office of Children and Family Services Commissioner Sheila Poole said, "Child care is critical to continue building back our economy, and our families need as much support as possible. I'm grateful that Governor Hochul has made child care a priority. Too many of our families are struggling to find care, and these desert grants will allow new providers to fill access gaps. And OCFS has ensured that diversity and equity components are built into these grants."
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "As Co-Chair of the Child Care Availability Task Force, I closely examined the complex issues associated with our child care system. I thank Governor Hochul for this historic solution that provides new training opportunities for New Yorkers and strengthens a much-needed workforce to fuel an essential support system for working families across New York State."
For this funding opportunity, child care deserts are defined as census tracts 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% of New York State is considered a child care desert. All census tracts in New York State have been mapped depending on the number of available slots, and potential child care providers can review the child care desert map to discern appropriate locales. Additional details on eligibility and requirements of the grant can be found in the RFA.
All applicants must complete the OCFS online orientation before applying for the grant. Please visit the OCFS website for more information. Programs applying to become a NYC DOHMH Article 47 day care center must attend a pre-permit orientation before applying for a new permit.  
Applicants needing assistance with starting child care programs can contact their county's OCFS Regional Office or their local child care resource and referral agency (CCR&R), which can help with the licensing process. 
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, "Our nation was facing a child care crisis even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, more than 60% of New Yorkers live in child care deserts, and those who can access care often struggle to afford it. Child care providers and working families are critical to our economy, and we can't let them face these challenges alone. That's why I fought so hard to include federal funding for child care in the American Rescue Plan. This critical funding will help get parents back to work and will provide care centers the resources needed to stay open and keep our children safe."
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, "Child care is essential, and particularly our family-based providers which were critical during the height of COVID-19. If families are to truly recover from the impact of the pandemic, they need our full commitment and support along this journey. I commend Governor Hochul on today's announcement allocating this federal funding to expand child care programs throughout our state to help support families most in need."
Representative Joe Morelle said, "Safe and reliable childcare is essential for families to thrive—but right now, too many are struggling to access it. I'm proud to have delivered funds for this program through the American Rescue Plan to help make childcare more accessible and affordable for everyone. I'm grateful to Governor Hochul for making this important issue a priority and I look forward to our continued work together to ease the burden on New York families."
Representative Jamaal Bowman said, "The benefits of quality child care can't be understated -- it is essential that we make it affordable and accessible for all children, regardless of their family's income or zip code. That's why I worked with my colleagues in Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan that included urgently needed investments for our youngest learners and am proud to join Governor Hochul and my colleagues in announcing this $70 million grant funding to address child care deserts, which will impact many families in Westchester County and The Bronx. Affording and finding child care is one of the biggest challenges for many working families. Every child in NY-16 and statewide deserves a nurturing place to learn, grow and thrive starting from infancy. I look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have on families who are struggling to find safe, affordable and reliable child care options and the impact it will have on our next generation."
Representative Mondaire Jones said, "In Rockland and Westchester Counties, too many families cannot afford quality child care. I fought hard to help deliver this funding in the American Rescue Plan to help close our child care deserts, and now that applications are open, I urge all eligible providers to apply. These grants will be critical to helping providers keep their doors open and pay their workers a living wage, and helping families across the state obtain the quality, affordable child care they need."