Investing in Our Future: The Urgent Need to Stabilize the Child Care and After-School Systems

23 Jan

Last week, the Campaign for Children released a new report documenting how the constant uncertainty and instability of funding for child care and after-school programs negatively impacts programs, providers, staff, parents, children and communities.

The report findings are based on a survey of almost 400 child care and after-school providers throughout the 5 boroughs.  Providers were clear that inadequate reimbursement rates and uncertainty caused by not knowing whether City funding will be available from one year to the next makes them unable to plan for the future, contributes to staff turnover, leaves parents unsure where they can safely leave their children while at work and most importantly results in children not having access to child care or after school programs at all.

The economic and social benefits of investing in high quality early childhood education and after-school programs, particularly for low-income children, are well known – yet the City has failed to make long-term investments to fund stable, high-quality systems.  As one survey respondent stated, “Not knowing is so difficult – the level of stress among all is overwhelming – it makes it very difficult to ensure quality care for our community.”

The report was released at a press conference on the steps of City Hall, where the Campaign was joined by City Council allies, Council Members Latisha James (@TishJames), Ydanis Rodriguez (@ydanis), Steve Levin (@StephenLevin33) and Gale Brewer (@galeabrewer).

In 2012, the Campaign for Children, a coalition of over 150 organizations, formed to fight proposed unprecedented budget cuts to child care and after-school programs, Following over 30 rallies, 60,000 letters and 4,500 phone calls to city leaders, the Campaign’s efforts resulted in a historic victory – the City Council and Administration restored $150 million to prevent the elimination of programs for more than 47,000 children. While this was an enormous victory for children and families, $120 million of the restored money is one-year, discretionary money that runs out in June – leaving parents and advocates to fight once again just to maintain the status quo, not to mention expanding services for more children in need.

Because many programs were saved with one-year funding, many of those children and families are at risk of losing child care and after-school again this year. This needs to stop.  Join the Campaign for Children and help ensure that every child has access to high-quality, affordable, and educational child care and after-school programs. You can help us by reaching out to your elected officials and telling them to make child care and after school a priority. Join us today!

Contributed by Stephanie Gendell of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, Inc. (CCC). CCC is a member of the Campaign for Children.

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