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New York spending $500 million to add 150,000 child care workers

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $500 million investment in the FY 2024 Budget to bolster New York’s child care workforce through the Workforce Retention Grant Program.

Funding from the program will support 150,000 child care workers and can be used to provide bonus payments ranging from $2,300 to $3,000 to staff in caregiving roles, as well as to recruit new staff, offer sign-on and referral bonuses, and more.

Applications will open on July 13.

“As the first mother to serve as Governor of New York, I know first-hand the impact that the lack of affordable child care can have on a family,” Governor Hochul said. “Child care is truly at the foundation of New York’s success, which is why it is central to our work to make the state more affordable and more livable. I’m proud of the investments in child care we have made in this Budget to make care more accessible for families, grow our workforce, and make a down payment on the future of our state.”

The FY 2024 Budget created the Workforce Retention Grant Program, which will make $500 million in underutilized federal funds available as grants for eligible child care programs. Funding can be used to provide bonus payments ranging from $2,300 to $3,000 to staff in caregiving roles, as well as to recruit new staff, offer sign-on and referral bonuses and more. Applications for the Workforce Retention Grant Program will open on July 13.


As part of a historic investment in families and child care, the FY 2024 Budget also includes a $4.8 million investment in a new Employer-Sponsored Child Care Pilot Program. Participating employers, the state and employees will split the cost of child care. Families must fall between 85 percent and 100 percent of the state median income to qualify. The pilot will operate in three separate regions throughout the state.

The FY 2024 Budget established a new Employer Child Care Tax Credit available to businesses that create new child care seats (and expand existing options) for workers. The $25 million annual credit will be administered through the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (DTF) and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS).

Additionally, $1 million was allocated in the Budget to create a statewide business navigator program in each of the 10 Regional Economic Development Council regions to help interested businesses identify options to support employees’ child care needs and will also develop a statewide employer child care guidebook.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

The FY 2024 Budget also invests in New York’s families by expanding the Empire State Child Credit (ESCC) to include children under four years of age. This expansion will provide $179 million in total support for over 525,000 low and middle-income taxpayers thanks to the inclusion of nearly 630,000 additional children. The ESCC, which has excluded children under four since its inception in 2006, will now provide an additional average benefit of $340 per affected taxpayer and $284 per newly included child.

The FY 2024 Budget investments build on Governor Hochul’s long record of making child care fairer, more accessible, and more affordable in New York State. As Governor, she continues to work to overhaul the child care system. In addition to those outlined above, child care investments include:

  • A four-year, $7.6 billion commitment to improving the child care assistance program through raising the income limit to the maximum allowed by federal law, making over 100,000 additional New York families eligible. Families participating in the Child Care Assistance Program will also see child care costs limited to 1 percent of the total family income above the poverty line. The State will increase the number of allowable annual absences from 24 to 80 in an effort to standardize eligibility for child care assistance across the local districts.
  • Creating a statewide electronic child care assistance application.
  • Streamlining the application process for those enrolled in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children.
  • Incentivizing supply building by favoring applications for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit that incorporate child care facility space.


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