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What is a child care desert? How will $100M in state funding help address it?

Nearly $70 million in grant funding has been awarded to newly licensed, registered or permitted child care programs in areas of the state that are considered child care deserts, according to Governor Kathy Hochul’s office.

The funds are part of the $100 million child care desert initiative approved in the Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget, were made available through the American Rescue Plan Act and are administered by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.


The grants will help new child care providers in undeserved areas build programs, cover start-up and personnel costs, recruit, train, and retain staff.

“Expanding child care options for working families is personal to me. As a young mom, I had to leave my job due to lack of access to affordable child care,” Governor Hochul said. “I want to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the Congressional delegation for helping secure this critical funding. New York remains committed to eradicating child care deserts, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure all parents have access to this vital lifeline.”

What constitutes a child care desert?

A child care desert is defined as a census tract where there are three or more children younger than five for each available child care slot, or there are not available child care slots in the tract.

More than 60% of the state is considered a child care desert.

Click here to check out the state’s interactive map for finding out whether your neighborhood is a child care desert.

Hochul speaks about expanding access to child care across New York

It’s an issue that Hochul’s administration has targeted for several months.

“Insufficient child care resources have a tremendous effect on our economy, keeping parents from returning to work,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “It is critical for us to improve care, especially in underserved areas where parents have to struggle with the painful and unacceptable choices of whether to keep their jobs and leave their young children home alone with no care at all or quit their jobs and not be able to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads.”


RELATED: $30M more available for childcare providers in ‘deserts’ across New York State


Here’s how each region fared in funding

  • Central New York was awarded $3.8M to 23 recipients.
  • $4.02M was awarded to 24 total recipients in the Finger Lakes.
  • $4.1M was awarded to 26 recipients in the Southern Tier.


Categories: New York StateNews

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