Kavanagh & Colleagues Call on State to Promptly Invest Federal Funds for Child Care for Families of Essential Workers

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On April 22, Senator Kavanagh, along with 36 colleagues pushed for CARES Act funding to be invested in order to: provide free and low cost child care to the children of essential workers during the COVID-19 crisis; provide pay, health care, PPE, and access to testing to child care providers; and pay providers participating in the child care subsidy program for March, April, and May based on enrollment data collected prior to COVID-19. The text of the legislators' letter is below; the original may be viewed via the link above.


April 22, 2020

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
Executive Chamber
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo,

Thank you for your leadership during this tremendously challenging crisis. We appreciate your attention to ensuring the safety of your constituents while also weighing the impact that business closures will have on the economy and taking a measured stance on re-opening New York State in the most safe, effective manner possible.

We are writing on behalf of the thousands of essential workers who need safe, quality child care to keep performing their essential functions as well as on behalf of the child care workforce which is itself designated as essential. We respectfully request that you act without delay to invest the $163.4 million in CARES Act funds designated for child care. Without child care, the State’s essential workers cannot continue their selfless work of caring for the many New Yorkers who have been stricken by COVID-19, and keeping essential state services operating. At the same time, New York’s economy cannot restart and rebuild without a vibrant child care industry, one poised and ready to phase up to full capacity as the recovery begins.

These funds should be invested to achieve the following three goals:

1. Provide free/low-cost, safe, child care to the children of essential workers for the duration of the public health crisis, along with children experiencing homelessness and families involved in the child welfare system. This care should be provided immediately, and with as little red tape as possible. With essential workers putting their very lives on the line, and being asked to work long hours while their school age children are out of school, at a time when they cannot rely on older relatives and neighbors to assist with care, many are struggling to find and afford care for their young and school-aged children. New York is overdue to join many of our sister states in providing our essential workers safe, quality, affordable child care.

2. Provide premium pay, health care, access to testing and PPEs to child care providers that choose to remain open – at great personal risk – during this crisis. Connect providers to public health consultants so they can provide care in as safe a manner as possible given that young children do not “social distance.”

3. Direct ALL local department of social services across the State to pay providers participating in the child care subsidy program for March, April and May 2020 based on the number of children enrolled on March 1, regardless of attendance, and develop a fund to enable providers to apply for grants to cover lost private-pay tuition as our neighbor Vermont has done. If these steps are not taken, there may not be a viable industry on the other side of this crisis.

While these three actions will not be enough to stabilize child care in New York for the long term, they will create a bridge to help our State move from crisis to recovery, buying us time to develop a longer term plan for recovery – one that recognizes the critical importance child care will have to play for that recovery to be successful.


Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi
Chair, Social Services

Senator Roxanne J. Persaud
Chair, Social Services

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee
Chair, Children and Families

Senator Velmanette Montgomery
Chair, Children and Families

Co-signed by:

Assemblyman Tom Abinanti, 92nd AD
Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, 106th AD
Assemblyman Charles Barron, 60th AD
Assemblyman Michael Blake, 79th AD
Assemblyman David Buchwald, 93rd AD
Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz, 39th AD
Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, 72nd AD
Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, 109th AD
Assemblywoman Mathylde Frontus, 46th AD
Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman, 29th AD
Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre, 11th AD
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, 123rd AD
Assemblyman John T. McDonald III, 108th AD
Assemblyman Dan Quart, 73rd AD
Assemblywoman Karines Reyes, 87th AD
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, 67th AD
Assemblywoman Jo Ann Simon, 52nd AD
Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, 36th AD
Assemblyman Al Stirpe, 127th AD
Assemblyman Al Taylor, 71st AD
Assemblywoman Monica Wallace, 143rd AD

Senator Alessandra Biaggi, 34th SD
Senator George Borello, 57th SD
Senator Neil Breslin, 44th SD
Senator David Carlucci, 38th SD
Senator Leroy Comrie, 14th SD
Senator Brad Hoylman, 27th SD
Senator Brian Kavanagh, 26th SD
Senator Tim Kennedy, 63rd SD
Senator Jen Metzger, 42nd SD
Senator Tom O’Mara, 58th SD
Senator Robert Ortt, 62nd SD
Senator Jim Tedisco, 49th SD

cc:     Commissioner Sheila Poole
          Commissioner Roberta Reardon