By Ariama C. Long
Mayor Eric Adams vowed to invest in the city’s 500,000 children under 5-years-old in his child care and early education blueprint last week. But, many are saying that a big part of the money should go to chronically underfunded child care providers.
“As a child, my mother had to work three jobs and still find a way to take care of me and my siblings,” said Adams in a statement. “And during the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 375,000 parents were forced to quit or downshift their jobs because they had no other way to take care of their children. Now, my administration is working to make sure no parent has to make that hard choice between child care and putting food on their table again.”
According to the city, about “52% of New York City families with children under age four cannot afford child care and, since the start of the pandemic, one in four parents have had to turn down a job, change jobs, or take leave due to child care needs.”
The plan aims to support working families, reverse the economic impact on parents of color, and boost the economy. The allocations for child care in the city budget include $9.2 million for low-income vouchers, plus a promised $800 million in investments over the next four years. Altogether the funding should yield an approximate total of $2 billion in child care spending, said the mayor’s office.
There will be a new application available on an online portal that will cut red tape and “alleviate the frustrations” of an often difficult and complicated application process for families. It also allows $10 million in investments for undocumented families to receive child care benefits and will expand child care access in “high needs neighborhoods” citywide.