Dear Governor Cuomo,
We know that childcare programs in New York State have always played a pivotal role in the communities’ economy as well as provide safe and wholesome environments for children. In order for New Yorkers to get back to work and repair an economy that has been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, New York State must invest in our childcare communities.
As New York struggled through the first months of the pandemic, our essential workers relied on New York’s childcare providers to enable them to go to work. Our childcare providers answered that call, proving that they are themselves essential workers, and did so despite great personal risk. They sacrificed for all New Yorkers.
We also know that a stable and accessible childcare industry is a prerequisite for more parents to return to work. In fact, New York State’s economic recovery is reliant on the success of this particular industry.
Therefore, we do not understand why New York State government has been holding back tens of millions of dollars, allocated by the federal government for the childcare industry through the CARES act, at a time when 25% of childcare programs and 30% of school-aged child care centers have closed due to the pandemic. The remaining childcare providers are now losing money because of reduced capacity due to social distancing and other important health requirements and many more will be forced to close as well, making the states’ decision to withhold funds even more perplexing.
In addition, the majority of New York’s 15,512 licensed or registered childcare businesses are owned and/or run by Black and Brown women—the same population that has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. To keep these businesses solvent, New York State needs to restore and sustain capacity by using the funds it already has on hand.
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