Governor Kathy Hochul today announced major investments in child care among the highlights of the FY 2023 Budget. New York State is investing $ 7 billion over four years, reflecting that access to quality child care is critical to children, families, and the economic recovery. This more than doubles New York’s support for child care subsidies. The Budget 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 young children in New York.
“Child care services are a critical part of our economic recovery, providing parents much-needed support as they pursue an education or join the workforce,” Governor Hochul said. “As a mother forced to leave her job because of the lack of accessible child care, I am proud of the work we have done with Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Heastie to make this historic investment and the opportunities it will provide for working parents “These landmark changes will permanently expand the availability, quality and affordability of child care for all New Yorkers.”
The State Budget also expands access to high quality child care by increasing the child care market rate to include 80 percent of providers. This change will broaden the child care options available to subsidized families while also increasing reimbursements for child care providers.
To further support providers, the backbone of the industry, the Budget invests $ 343 million provide a second round of provider stabilization grants. These grants will go directly to providers and their employees, with 75% of the grants dedicated to workforce supports, including wage increases, bonuses, tuition reimbursement, and contributions to staff retirement plans and health insurance costs. The Budget also invests $ 50 million to establish a child care capital program. This will allow child care providers to apply for flexible capital grants for expenses related to the design, construction, rehabilitation, improvement, furnishing, or equipping of new or existing child care facilities.
Underscoring the importance of child care access to the Enacted Budget also invests $ 15.6 million to ensure that every SUNY and CUNY campus has a child care center available for students, faculty, and the greater community. To further increase access to child care for students pursuing a higher education degree the Budget eliminated the requirement that, in addition to their schooling, an individual has to work 17.5 hours a week in order to be eligible for child care subsidies.
Additionally, the Budget increases support for Agri-Business Child Development Centers (ABCD) statewide by investing $ 13.5 million to continue providing high quality early childhood education and social services to farm workers and their families and to support the capital infrastructure of these critical programs.
The Budget’s major new investments build on New York’s use of Federal funds that are making systemic changes that will permanently expand the availability, quality and affordability of child care. Actions already taken include:
- Providing $ 901 million in stabilization grants to nearly 15,000 providers to help cover the costs of child care workers, rent or mortgage, utilities, supplies, training and many other purposes.
- Providing $ 163 million in child care grants to over 50,000 children of essential worker families;
- Ensuring that families can receive 12-months of child care assistance even if their income exceeds the eligibility threshold during those 12-months;
- Capping family co-pay contributions to no more than 10% of their annual income (prior to this, counties could set copays for families at their own discretion, with some counties charging parents as much as 30% of their annual income);
- Reimbursing providers for 24 absences per child per year;
- Expanding QUALITYStarsNY– a rating system of quality for child care providers;
- Expanding and support facilitated enrollment for existing programs; and
- Addressing child care deserts statewide by providing grants to new providers and existing providers who want to expand their capacity.