BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — New York State is committing upwards of $2.4 billion in federal funding to expand access to child care across New York State. The funding, which is included in New York's 2022 annual budget that passed in early April, will help child care providers pay for renovations, rent, and staff wages, while also expanding child care subsidies and helping more families bring down costs of child care.
The money cannot come soon enough for child care providers, which have been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Western New York had almost 40 percent of child care centers close temporarily, and some permanently," said Sofia Mado, owner of Little Angels Day Care in Cheektowaga.
But how soon the funding could be unlocked for Mado and other struggling child care providers and families is unclear. During a news conference Friday, state lawmakers could not provide a plan for the rollout of these funds.
Assemblywoman Monica Wallace (D-Lancaster) says specific language in the budget will help ensure checks and balances.
"We wrote into the budget a provision to make sure that there is accountability periodically to make sure the money is getting where it is supposed to go," said Wallace.
Here is a breakdown of the child care funding, as outlined by Wallace's office:
- $1.26 billion for stabilization grants, which child care providers can use to cover facility renovations, rent, mental health supports, and staff wages
- $225 million to expand eligibility for child care subsidies to families that earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level for the next three years
- $291 million to provide 12 months of eligibility for services to families
- $50 million for facilitated enrollment in Erie and Onondaga counties, the Capital region, and New York City
- $192 million to limit co-pays to 10% of a family's income
- $120 million to cover up to 24 absences per child
- $100 million for start-ups in child care deserts