IRVING, NY – As child care providers across the state provide critically-needed child care services to frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chautauqua County community turned out to support “Child Care Provider Appreciation Day.” The occasion was commemorated with a “thank you” car parade that began with a 9 a.m. kick-off in Jamestown attended by Assemblyman Andy Goodell and a representative from Congressman Tom Reed’s office and that proceeded through the entire county, driving by the homes of every child care provider. It culminated with a press conference attended by Senator George Borrello, as well as child care providers, advocates and first responders.
Provider Appreciation Day was inaugurated in 1996 as a way to honor the contributions of providers who care for the children of working parents. It is always celebrated on the Friday before Mother’s Day.
This year’s event takes on heightened importance as our state and nation confront the COVID-19 pandemic. Child care providers are a critical component of the frontline workforce, providing emergency care to the children of essential workers.
Participants called on the state to disburse the remaining $133.4 million in emergency relief to the childcare system that was allocated under the federal CARES Act. The state has allotted $30 million of the original $163.4 million to provide free childcare for income-eligible essential workers. Another $88 million has been committed to after-school programs, but the guidance needed to activate the programs has not been issued. More than $45 million remains unspent and uncommitted. Senator Borrello and all the participants requested that New York State follow the lead of other states around the nation and use remaining funding to provide immediate assistance to families and providers.
“While Child Care Provider Appreciation Day has been celebrated for more than two decades, this year’s event has taken on deeper meaning in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the extraordinary way our registered child care providers have stepped up to provide crisis-related child care to frontline and essential workers,” said Senator Borrello. “Many of these small businesses are struggling financially from enrollment losses related to the crisis, but are operating to help our essential workers and because they care about the children and our community. Today is about thanking them for their extraordinary contributions and requesting that the state use the remaining CARES Act funding to help sustain these providers so they can continue to provide the quality care that parents and children need and deserve.”