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State Senate proposes $500M fund to support child care workforce

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  • Staff Report 

Democratic state senators in New York have proposed a $500 million fund as part of their one-house budget resolution to support the child care workforce. This proposal aims to address the ongoing staffing crisis and low wages in the child care sector. The fund would provide grants potentially increasing provider salaries by up to $12,000 annually for workers at facilities that serve families receiving assistance for care.

Senate Children & Families Chair Jabari Brisport emphasized the importance of the proposal, stating that the current poverty wages discourage people from staying in the industry. While providers are advocating for the Senate’s proposal, they still maintain that $1 billion is needed to address the issue adequately.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposal of $389 million for general stabilization grants would allocate a portion to workers, but the remaining funds could be used more broadly. Senators also included provisions for financial support to expand child care assistance to immigrant families and undocumented children.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The Assembly’s one-house budget did not address new child care proposals, instead committing to Hochul’s spending plan, which includes a $7.6 billion investment in child care over the next four years. Providers are pressuring lawmakers to implement a universal child care system, estimated to cost $5 billion per year.

Hochul has also introduced a new web tool to help New Yorkers determine their eligibility for child care assistance. However, neither the Senate nor the Assembly has included a plan for universal child care in their spending plans.