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Hochul launches $500M child care workforce grant program

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced today the opening of applications for the $500 million Workforce Retention Grant Program, an initiative aimed at reinforcing the state’s child care workforce. The program, funded by the fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget, seeks to support an estimated 150,000 child care professionals with financial incentives, such as retention and referral bonuses for current employees, and sign-on bonuses for newcomers.

The Workforce Retention Grant Program was established by the FY 2024 Budget to disburse underutilized federal funds as grants for eligible child care programs. These funds can be used for recruitment activities, staff retention bonuses, and to cover employer taxes incurred during the process. Eligibility extends to a variety of child care programs, including day care centers, family day care homes, and school-age child care programs, among others.

Additionally, the FY 2024 Budget includes significant funding for new programs, such as the Employer-Sponsored Child Care Pilot Program, to which $4.8 million has been allocated. The pilot program, designed to provide affordable child care options, will have costs split between the state, employers, and families falling between 85 and 100 percent of the state median income. Further, the budget established a new Employer Child Care Tax Credit to incentivize businesses to create new child care seats and expand existing options.

The FY 2024 Budget also addresses the needs of New York families directly, expanding the Empire State Child Credit (ESCC) to include children under four. This expansion will result in approximately $179 million in total support for over 525,000 taxpayers, covering nearly 630,000 additional children. The expanded ESCC is set to provide an average benefit of $340 per affected taxpayer and $284 per newly included child.