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For immediate release: July 10, 2017
Contact: Craig Smith
Phone: 518-402-3130

$4.75 Million Announced to Expand Three Early Childhood Initiatives in Rochester

Funding Will Support Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and Expand Dual-Generation Programs in Pilot Neighborhoods

Investment Supported by "Finger Lakes Forward" – Region's Successful Strategic Plan to Grow the Economy and Create New Opportunities

Today, the Governor announced $4.75 million to support the expansion of early childhood anti-poverty initiatives as part of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative. Funding will support new summer learning programs, and child care and home visiting services for children and caregivers in the City of Rochester pilot neighborhoods targeted by the Anti-Poverty Initiative, including the EMMA neighborhood – East Main, Mustard & Atlantic Avenue – Beechwood and Marketview Heights.

"Fighting poverty and providing opportunity to all New Yorkers is a top priority of this administration," the Governor said. "Through these strategic investments and collaborative community efforts, we are helping to ensure young New Yorkers receive quality care, access to new learning opportunities, and are moving the Finger Lakes Forward toward a more equitable and prosperous future."

A new two-year pilot program will provide children throughout Rochester with an opportunity to grow into self-sufficient adults. Program initiatives include:

Home Visiting

Over the next two years, beginning prenatally or shortly after birth, this effort will work to expand the Nurse-Family Partnership, Building Healthy Children, and Parents as Teachers initiatives, which are focused on low-income, young, new families. Through proven, effective income-related health and education support programs, this new effort will assist an additional 116 families in Monroe County overall.

Summer Learning

The summerLEAP program expansion will target 305 more pre-K children in the City of Rochester in summer 2017 than in 2016, and 407 more in summer 2018. The initiative is an intensive, six-week, classroom-based summer learning program which is proven to be effective at improving kindergarten readiness, while preventing the so-called 'summer slide.'

Child Care

The expansion of the child care plan will target 300 more children across Monroe County and will offer 18 months of child care support for working parents, which in turn will help them retain employment. This effort will also focus on supporting parents through mentoring and other navigating projects.

Upstate Revitalization Initiative funding will support the two-year demonstration program totaling up to $4.75 million. The Office of Children and Family Services will administer $3 million to expand child care subsidies through Monroe County; and the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance, via the United Way of Greater Rochester and its existing Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative contract, will administer $1.075 million for the summer learning program, and $675,000 for expanded home visitation efforts.

Last November, the governor announced nearly $16 million to support three Rochester-based projects aimed at reducing poverty in the Finger Lakes region – Monroe Community College's new Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center at Eastman Business Park, the "Bridges to Success" pilot program, and the long-standing Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection program. These projects were the first to receive funding through the "One Community Plan."

Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative Director Leonard Brock said, "The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative is committed to creating systems change and addressing the root causes of poverty, and this is a great step in that direction. The first five years of a young person's life is a critical period where 75 to 85 percent of brain development occurs—cognitive function, executive functioning and personality. In an effort to not only reduce poverty but break the cycle of poverty affecting so many of our residents, it is imperative that we take a dual-generational approach that supports the youngest and neediest of our population, the children. I am thrilled by the state’s commitment to support these children and invest in the long-term outcomes for our community."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The Governor's continued support of impactful anti-poverty initiatives ensures that all New Yorkers get the investment they deserve right from the start. With programs like home visitation to equip new parents with the needed tools to raise successful children and by providing childcare so that more parents in the region are able to work while knowing that their children are being well cared for, investing in ending poverty is an economic development investment in moving the Finger Lakes Forward."

FLREDC Co-Chair and Wegmans Food Markets Chairman Danny and Monroe Community College President Anne Kress said, "Poverty reduction remains a top priority for the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council through the "One Community Plan," which identifies efforts that develop cradle-to career workforce readiness initiatives. We are incredibly grateful to the Governor for his continued support in our targeted efforts that truly aim to create multiple "Pathways to Prosperity" for all."

State Office of Children and Family Services Acting Commissioner Sheila Poole said, "Quality child care is an essential support for children and families and a key component in fighting poverty. Its two-generational benefits include providing a safe, nurturing, and educational setting for children, while helping low-income, working families. I am pleased that the expanded child care subsidy and increased slots will make child care accessible to more families."

State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, "The Governor's commitment to reducing poverty recognizes the importance of providing a supportive and nurturing environment for children as they develop, and the home visiting and summer learning programs are a vital part of those efforts. While there is no is single program that can raise a family out of poverty, we know that a combination of programs and services can make a significant difference to families and individuals as they begin on a path out of poverty."

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, "This is yet another critical investment that will provide essential support and resources to families and children most in need. I thank the Governor, the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and all of our local partners for their continued commitment to ensuring every person and child in our community has the opportunity to make their dreams a reality."

Senator Joe Robach said, "It is critically important that if we are going to solve poverty, that we address early childhood and education. By creating paths for success at an earlier age, children and their parents will be better equipped with the tools needed to lift themselves out of poverty. These resources will be used to that end."

County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo said, "This additional funding will benefit and support families here in Monroe County. It will help fulfill our shared goal for residents to reach financial freedom for their families and generations to come. The additional funding will greatly enhance the many efforts Monroe County has been involved in to help local families on their path to success. As County Executive, I remain committed to providing daycare services to families as they move from social services to financial independence through innovative and groundbreaking initiatives like the LadderzUp and Paths to Empowerment programs which provide job training and occupational support to individuals. Monroe County is dedicated to creating a strong, well-trained workforce through custom-created certification programs like one currently being developed for Clearwater Organic Farms which will employ over 100 local residents in skilled, good-paying jobs following the completion of training."

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said, "As we work to create more jobs, safer and more vibrant neighborhoods and better educational opportunities, it is critical that families have the tools they need for their children to start off on the right track. The Governor's investment adds to our ongoing efforts, which includes expanded Pre-K and screening for three year olds. I would like to thank him for investing not only in our children, but in the future of our city."

United Way of Greater Rochester President & CEO Fran Weisberg said, "United Way is thrilled to serve as partner and catalyst for this community investment. We're proud to work side by side with RMAPI and our program partners to attack poverty from all angles, and we appreciate New York State's commitment to helping us rebuild our region into a healthy, productive, thriving community."

Children's Agenda Chief Executive Officer Larry Marx said, "Investing in these early childhood supports is the right thing to do for families in poverty and it's the right strategy for our local economy. Programs centered on children alone don't help struggling parents, and programs centered on adults alone often treat children as barriers to employment. Dual-generation solutions, like evidence-based home visitation and child care subsidies, are the answer. This investment creates jobs – early child care and education is a roughly $210 million sector employing 7,500 people in Monroe County – while also helping parents avoid the trade-off between taking care of their children and maintaining their employment. The Children's Agenda is deeply grateful to the Governor's Office, the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, and the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative for investing in these smart, proven supports for children."

Children's Institute Executive Director Dirk Hightower said, "The RMAPI team headed by Dr. Leonard Brock should be commended for helping to address the needs of community. Through this initial installment for early childhood efforts, we can start making a more significant difference in our children's lives."

Greater Rochester Summer Learning Association CEO Conger Gabel said, "Our six week, intensive, summerLEAP programs for pre-kindergarten children have proven to make a significant increase in kindergarten readiness: from 54 percent ready for kindergarten at the end of the academic PreK year in June to 76 percent ready for kindergarten at the end of our programs in August. We promise to instill in our students a belief in their abilities, an understanding of their potential for achievement, and a joyous spirit of optimism about the future. We are thrilled at the opportunity to offer these programs to more and more Rochester young people and are deeply appreciative of this initiative to address generational poverty."

Research shows that for children in poverty, exposure to violence, poor diet, and lack of mental stimulation contribute to higher rates of teen parenthood and school drop-out rates. The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative was created in 2015 to work in partnership with the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force to develop new and innovative ways to reduce poverty.

The Initiative has adopted a collective impact model that has since become the basis for the creation of the Empire State Poverty-Reduction Initiative in 2016 to bring the same community-based effort to all areas in need throughout the state.

Accelerating Finger Lakes Forward
Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $3.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan – investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in.

The region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative. The state’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 8,200 new jobs.