Thiele: New York Must Confront Its Child Care Crisis Head On

New York State, like much of the country, is in the throes of a child care crisis. The struggle to find reliable, affordable and safechild care often prevents parents, especially mothers, from maintaining employment. It also puts our children at risk. It’s vital that we drastically improve the child care system in New York so children have opportunities to learn and be cared for in a safe, nurturing environment.

After conducting several roundtables on New York’s child care system, the Assembly Child Care Workgroup recently announced its recommendations for improvement. The detailed Child Care Workgroup report examines child care subsidies, regional and socioeconomic variables and the challenges working families face finding child care. Additionally, the report provides ideas for expanding and enhancing child care services in our state.

The Child Care Workgroup recommends:

increasing access to subsidized child care
providing paid family leave
enhancing the quality of New York’s child care system; and
improving child care administration.

Currently, the cost of center-based infant care in New York averages nearly $15,000 a year–more than some colleges’ tuition. Yet, adequate child care is a necessity for working parents and a critical building block for economic development in our communities. That’s why the workgroup recommends that child care be a consideration when investing in economic development. The creation of a coalition of business and civic leaders whose focus is to secure public and private support for increased investment in high-quality early learning initiatives would increase support and awareness among working professionals and public officials.

New York’s child care crisis not only weakens our economy today, it hinders the development of our children, who are the workforce of tomorrow. Study after study has shown that the earlier children begin to learn, the better their academic performance will be in the long run. Our kids deserve better. Our families and our communities need child care that is affordable, safe, reliable and nurturing. It’s essential that we improve care during our children’s most formative years. I fully endorse the Assembly Child Care Workgroup’s recommendations and look forward to improving child care in New York this legislative session.

Fred W. Thiele Jr.
New York State Assemblyman
Sag Harbor

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