Stand Up for Child Care Adirondacks is a North Country child care advocacy coalition who is launching a media campaign with videos bringing attention to challenges faced by the child care industry and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The videos feature child care providers, parents and community leaders who share their issues and propose solutions to stabilize the industry that is crucial to the success of our local economy.
“Child care is economic development,” said North Country Workforce Development Board Executive Director Sylvie Nelson.
Encouraged by Governor Cuomo’s commitment of $40 million in the 2021 NYS budget toward child care, Stand Up for Child Care Adirondacks is asking state elected officials to commit to a legislative add of $1.5 million for facilitated enrollment in the 2021 NYS budget. The funds would offset the high cost of child care faced by median income working families in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
Additionally, the group is advocating for CARES money to go directly to child care providers to infuse cash into programs and long term investment as well as support the child care profession by streamlining and solidifying a pipeline for the development of child care businesses, beginning with recruitment of new providers.
According to the Center of American Progress, without financial help, 50% of child care centers will go out of business. And just as important, the cost of child care has surpassed housing as the most expensive category of basic living, creating as significant barrier for families. Additionally, a staggering 70% of U.S. child care providers report working a second job to be able to make ends meet.
“In Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, there are 20,000 children under the age of 12 in need of child care; 30% of which live in poverty and whose parents must disburse, on average, $15,000 per year for two children in child care,” said Sara Allen Taylor, Project Director of the Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country (CCCCNC). “Those numbers are unsustainable.”
Meanwhile, COVID-19 is putting a financial strain on child care providers. Decreased enrollment and increased operational costs have left most providers, both for-profit and nonprofit, in an unsustainable financial situation. Child care providers are working hard to balance their ability to operate with efforts to keep children healthy. The top priority for providers is safety as they care for young children during this time of heightened risk.
Since 2003, the Workforce Development Institute (WDI) has consistently secured funds for the Child Care Subsidy Facilitated Enrollment Program (CCSFEP) in New York City, and Albany, Erie, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties. The WDI CCSFEP is responsive to the needs of working families who would otherwise be ineligible for assistance while providing a multi-generational benefit with a strong return on investment.
“Without child care, parents can’t work.,” stated Brittany Buffum, WDI’s CCSFEP Program Manager. “The child care industry is an integral part of the state’s economic recovery, and is vital to keeping the North Country working.”
“We need our elected officials to include a $1.5 million fund in the NYS budget for Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties which could be used for facilitated enrollment,” said Jamie Basiliere, CCCCNC Executive Director. “We also need to advocate for CARES money to go directly to child care professionals and alleviate the paperwork and delays.”
“In meetings with Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Assemblyman Billy Jones and Assemblyman-elect Matt Simpson,” said Basiliere, “we are encouraged by the fact they understand the crucial role child care plays in the economy.”