Dear Mr. Bloomberg: I am writing to express my concerns regarding the current status of New York City public day care centers. As you know, our great city has had a rewarding history of providing safe, quality and affordable public-center-based day care to working families for more than 40 years. It has allowed working families, particularly female single heads of households, to become a proud part of the City's economic engine and care for their children without worry. Besides New York City, only the U.S. military has fully-funded day care in this country. New York City should not abandon its responsibilities to our children and to the working families that depend on these services to care for and educate their children prior to attending elementary school.
I was disturbed to learn from District Council 1707 that the New York City Administration of Children Services (ACS) closed down 17 needed public day care centers. ACS has also proposed to change the funding formula from a fully-funded to a per child enrollment system. This proposal will potentially place half of the centers in jeopardy because the recommended formula will not adequately fund them.
ACS has announced a "Project Full Enrollment" task force to make these policy changes, yet the task force is mainly comprised of employers who rely on ACS funding. The task force should be expanded to include elected officials with day care centers in their districts, parents, advocates, and most importantly, Day Care Employees Local 205, the union representing 6,000 public day care workers in more than 300 centers across New York City for the past 42 years. The members of Local 205 can greatly contribute to the dialogue because of their long service in the day care industry.
As the City prepares its plans for an additional one million new residents by 2030, it is my hope that the preservation and expansion of public day care centers remain a top priority. I ask that you urge ACS to consult with all concerned parties and include them in the discussion regarding the future of our city's public day care centers. We must continue to work together for our children.
Thomas K. Duane
New York State Senate